In This Review

By Edvard Radzinsky
Doubleday, 1996, 608 pp

Trotsky was working on this biography when he was assassinated near Mexico City in August 1940. The first seven chapters, dealing with Stalin's youth and early career as a revolutionist, had been written and revised at the time of the author's death. The rest of the book has been pieced together by the editor, Charles Malamuth, from notes and other material found in Trotsky's files, and is less satisfactory. The book was on the point of publication when Pearl Harbor was attacked, and its belated appearance even now will certainly not make the occupant of the Kremlin any happier. Trotsky goes through many of the motions of objective analysis and appraisal, but it is hardly to be wondered that on balance his verdict is unfavorable to Stalin as a person, as a revolutionary and as a statesman.