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Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky
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Stalin's Nemesis: The Exile and Murder of Leon Trotsky

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  92 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Leon Trotsky was the charismatic intellectual of the Russian Revolution, a brilliant writer and orator who was also an authoritarian organizer. He might have succeeded Lenin and become the ruler of the Soviet Union. But by the time the Second World War broke out he was in exile, living in Mexico in a villa borrowed from the great artists Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, guard ...more
Hardcover, 340 pages
Published June 18th 2009 by Faber and Faber Ltd (first published 2009)
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Jan 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 'Hitler and Stalin- Parallel Lives' group read club

To be read before 15.03.2013

Withdrawn by LIBRARIES NI

Opening: In the early morning hours of 24 May 1940, Leon Trotsky slept soundly inside his villa in Coyoacán, a small town on the southern outskirts of Mexico City.

Potted history leading up to the murder:

•Trotsky was born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, in 1879, in the southern Ukraine, then part of the Russian Empire.

•1904 Trotsky is Lenin's fiercest critic, citing substitutionism, which was patently against Marx's idiom of dictatorship by the peopl
David Vaughan
Nov 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
(Available on Kindle, quality paperback and small paperback.)

Thorough research with apparently impartial fact-checking, a feel for narrative flow, clear diction and flawless editing make this book a little wonder. I picked it up at Hong Kong International Airport for an airplane read in January, 2014. A few days ago I noted the receipt I've been using as a book mark has "International" in decorative script as a boilerplate header (probably for "International Airport"). Given the subject's deep i
Cathal Kenneally
Great history told like a hunted man tale. Stalin despotic and evil by nature gets the better of his enemies eventually like a Mafia don would. Trotsky thought he was safe in Mexico but when Stalin wants rid of someone he will go to extraordinary lengths to get the job done. Trotsky didn’t see it coming. His killer gained his confidence by befriending security guards who worked for Trotsky’s friends. By then it was too late
Tim Pendry
This book tells the story of Leon Trotsky and his years of exile and eventual assassination in Mexico from 1937 to 1940. Unfortunately it is marred by an extremely eccentric approach to story-telling with over-clever cutting between times and places. This is intended to tell the background to the main story but it soon gets out of hand. It is as if someone suggested to Patenaude that the story might make an art film one day and that he should cut and shape the story with that in mind.

The result
Eric Lee
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I bought this book when it first came out and when I began reading it, for some reason it didn't grab me and I put it aside. Having just read it now, years later, I cannot imagine what the problem was. This is a brilliantly-written and thoroughly-researched study of the very last years of Trotsky's life, the years of his exile in Mexico leading up to his murder by a Soviet agent in 1940. Patenaude tells the story well, with few signs of bias. Only once does he judge Trotsky negatively, referring ...more
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Stalin’s Nemesis – a version based on the book by Bertrand Patenuade
Riveting story, but… Contrary to what some people wearing Che Guevara T-shirts would have you believe, if you ask me, a man who lived in a regime born out of the work of both Stalin and his nemesis:
- Communism is like the Islamic State, Nazism or any other terrorist, massacre inducing “philosophy”

- Why would I read a tale about two villains, with perhaps nothing positive to talk about?
- Sometimes we are surprised and this work i
Chris Coffman
Aug 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I was delighted to see this book appear, because I've always wanted to know more about the last several years of Trotsky's life, when he had been exiled to Mexico, the last country on earth that would give him asylum, and was holed up with his wife, grandson, and bodyguards in a house owned by the artist Frida Kahlo.

Trotsky owed his safe haven to the direct intervention of Kahlo's husband, the great muralist and revolutionary firebrand, Diego Rivera.

Of course, Stalin's GPU was on the hunt, and i
Jan 11, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although not entirely impossible, one being human and all, it is indeed quite difficult to feel sympathy for Trotsky. Instead one could and will feel sad and freely shed tears for his family and friends who, though just a drop of water in an ocean of misery, suffered much of what millions did - persecution, imprisonment, exile, torture, threats, rape and execution - by one of the most, if not the most, brutal totalitarian regimes the world has ever seen, a bureaucratic killing machine Trotsky di ...more
Aug 14, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a cracking book that I struggled to put down. An excellent portrait that details Trotsky's final years as he struggles to unite a fractured Left Opposition from Mexico City as Stalin's agents tighten the noose around his neck. The book is also a meditation on the fatal flaw that kept Trotsky from the top job in the Soviet Union: That he was an unparalleled public speaker and leader of men but an appalling politician who sought to dominate colleagues instead of building alliances. His poo ...more
Mary Olesen
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this one. It drew me into the turbulent political climate of Mexico and the Soviet Union in the 30s up to Trotsky's assasination in 1940. The political wheeling and dealing and the dirty games played by Stalin's secret agents the NKVD as well as the struggle for power between different Trostskyists provides the reader with a thrilling account of how politics will always be a dirty game. There are no good guys here. There is espionage and counter espionage; there is unfaithfu ...more
Jul 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a good read, but I would suggest (without wanting to sound too pretentious) more for the general reader than someone who actually knows quite a bit about Stalin/ Trotsky/ the Russian Revolution etc. It was fascinating to learn about all the ins and outs of the trotskyist movement in America and the Old Man's relationships with his staff in Mexico. But occasionally I did feel a little "yes yes, I know about the show trials and the October Revolution and the Bolshevik Menshevik split".

Jun 09, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an extremely interesting book which concentrated on Trotsky's final years in Mexico, but also gave an outline of his previous history. What amazed me was his lack of engagement with world affairs. The Soviet Union had entered into a pact with Nazi Germany and was invading various countries (Poland, Finland), but Trotsky was more concerned to argue the rights and wrongs of dialectical materialism with the Trotskyites in the US (about 2.500 at most).
Feb 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It was a true joy to read and gives a good insight into Trotsky life. Patenaude style of writing this thriller makes the reader wanting more.
Vikas Datta
Sep 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A phenomenally gripping read... the tragic story of a true revolutionary and an intellectual in all senses of the word, not to mention a politician firmly imbued with the courage of his convictions.
Laura S
3.5 stars
Susan Smit
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Tom Clarke
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Aug 27, 2012
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E. Thomas
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Apr 27, 2010
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Andreas Jegerings
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