Bertrand Patenaude is an international relations scholar, writer, and professor who has written several well-received books on Russian history. In Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary, Patenaude places the controversial figure of Leon Trotsky in Mexico, where he is in exile before World War II. Interspersed with flashbacks to pivotal moments in Trotsky's career with the Red Army and Stalin in Soviet Russia, the book explores Trotsky's wartime relationships with Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Saul Bellow, and others. The book is rich and dramatic, packed with affairs, attempted assassinations, and secret police, and English actor Matthew Waterson apportions his sentences to magnify Trotsky's exciting scenes even further.
In Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary, Stanford University lecturer Bertrand M. Patenaude tells the dramatic story of Leon Trotsky's final years in exile in Mexico. Shedding new light on Trotsky's tumultuous friendship with painter Diego Rivera, his affair with Rivera’s wife Frida Kahlo, and his torment as his family and comrades become victims of the Great Terror, Trotsky: Downfall ofa Revolutionary brilliantly illuminates the fateful and dramatic life of one of history's most famous yet elusive figures.
©2009 Bertrand M. Patenaude (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I didn't know the details of Trotsky's story so it was really interesting to hear the details.
Waterson has a good voice and is easy to listen to, but at times it sounds like someone else's voice is dubbed in. It's a little jarring.
It was a good book on Leon Trotsky. Many hard line "Trotskyists" will dislike the book, but they dislike most books that are not 100% in line with their factions views. Trotsky with Lenin were the greatest fighters for humanity; however, the authors final conclusions that "Trotsky had nothing," and his complete discounting of Red October, makes it necessary to take this work with many grains of salt.
"Fascinating and frustrating."
This is a very interesting study of the last months of Leon Trotsky's life, culminating in his assassination. Although it alludes to many incidents in Trotsky's earlier years, often during the October revolution, it concentrates on his exile in Mexico, focussing strongly on his domestic relationships; principally with his wife, Diego Rivera and Frieda Kahlo. This domestic focus serves to illustrate how isolated and politically impotent Trotsky had become in real terms, notwithstanding the amount of ideological support and notoriety he still received. A portrait of an increasingly frustrated and stymied former political giant results, perhaps throwing some light on Trotsky's failings as a political leader by exposing his personal foibles. I found the material engaging, if occasionally a little repetitive, and the narration generally pleasing with a good pace. As a personal preference, however, I don't like the marriage of a standard English voice with American pronunciations and usage, and some of the emphases and stresses echoed oddly, perhaps as a result of this. Overall I'd recommend this work as it deals with an important subject and tells its story well.
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