The Prophet Armed


TROTSKY, 1879-1921, by Isaac Deutscher.Oxford university press S6.00.
This first volume of a projected twovolume study ol Trotsky is a brilliant, readable, and controversial work. Mr. Deutscher, who is on the staff of the London Economist, has a great admiration for Trotsky and considers him the real hero of the Russian Revolution, or rather of the original Socialist Revolution which became transformed into Soviet totalitarianism. In Dentscher’s view, Trotsky had a deeper historical sense, greater theoretical powers, and a more dynamic imagination than Lenin. This does not altogether jibe with Deutseher’s thesis that Trotsky, the cosmopolitan, saw the Revolution as a slop towards the Europeanization of Russia, and that he lost out because the Revolution did not. as he had hoped, spread to Western Europe. Clearly Trotsky misjudged both the temper of Europe and the stubborn backwardness of Russia, and clearly both Lenin and Stalin had a greater grasp of political realities. At any rate. Mr. Deutscher’s richly documented biography solidifies Trotsky’s place in history as the symbol of “the dream that failed.”