Max Shachtman on Isaac Deutscher's "Trotsky": Workers' Liberty 3/22

Trotsky and Deutscher

Post-Trotsky “Trotskyism” became known to a very large reading public in Isaac Deutscher’s biography of Trotsky. Its three volumes were published over a decade up to 1963, when the last one, The Prophet Outcast, came out. The trilogy was one of the most widely read biographies of the twentieth century. Deutscher’s work helped sweep away the mountains of Stalinist calumny under which Trotsky’s historical reputation had long been buried, though, as Deutscher himself acknowledged in an introduction to Volume 2, The Prophet Unarmed (1959), the main work in discrediting the Stalinist account of the...

Can socialism be built through tyranny? Shachtman on Deutscher

A biography of Leon Trotsky written by an author who understands that his life was nothing more than his political ideas and political activities, is of necessity a political document. The fact that this biography is written by Isaac Deutscher gives it more than ordinary importance. He brings to his work the extensive knowledge of his subject acquired through active participation in the revolutionary movements with which Trotsky was so prominently associated and through earnest research into materials not easily available to others. He knows he is writing about a man of heroic gifts and...

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