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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Ice-cold in Coyoacan: A New Biography of Leon Trotsky

The story of Trotsky's last years in Mexico, where he arrived in January 1937, is the subject of this haunting and dramatic reconstruction of life and death in exile. The detail is fascinating, almost voyeuristic, culled from the personal records of a group of enthusiastic Trotskyists and from Trotsky's own voluminous archive, which he sold to Harvard University in 1940 for $6,000 partly because he was strapped for cash and partly because he could not be sure that Stalin would not send a fireraiser to destroy his records, just as Stalin had Trotsky expunged from the photographs of the revolutionary years. News that his archive had arrived safely came, ironically enough, on the very day that his assassin expunged Trotsky himself.

link: Literary Review - Richard Overy on Stalin's Nemesis by Bertrand M Patenaude


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