Trotsky and the Russian Revolution: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Trotsky and the Russian Revolution

1st Edition

By Geoffrey Swain


172 pages

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pub: 2014-02-24
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Supporters of Stalin saw Trotsky as a traitor and renegade. Trotsky’s own supporters saw him as the only true Leninist. In Trotsky and the Russian Revolution, Geoffrey Swain restores Trotsky to his real and central role in the Russian Revolution. In this succinct and comprehensive study, Swain contests that:

  • In the years between 1903 and 1917, it was the ideas of Trotsky, rather than Lenin, which shaped the nascent Bolshevik Party and prepared it for the overthrow of the Tsar.
  • During the autumn of 1917 workers supported Trotsky’s idea of an insurrection carried out by the soviet, rather than Lenin’s demand for a party orchestrated coup d’etat.
  • During the Russian Civil War, Trotsky persuaded a sceptical Lenin that the only way to victory was through the employment of officers trained in the Tsar’s army.

As well as examining Trotsky’s critique of Stalin’s Russia in the 1930s, this seminar reader probes deeper to explore the ideas which drove Trotsky forward during his years of influence over Russia’s revolutionary politics, exploring such key concepts as how to construct a revolutionary party, how to stage a successful insurrection, how to fight a revolutionary war, and how to build a socialist state.

Table of Contents

Glossary. Who's Who. Part 1: Introduction. Part 2: A Revolutionary Life in Russia. Chapter 1: Developing a World View. Chapter 2: The Triumph of the 'Worker Intellectual'. Chapter 3: Living the Revolution. Chapter 4: Defending the Revolution. Chapter 5: Building a Workers' Economy. Chapter 6: Combating Thermidor. Notes. Documents. Part 3: Conclusion.

About the Author

Geoffrey Swain is the Alec Nove Chair in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Glasgow. He has written extensively on the modern history of Russia and Eastern Europe, including biographies of the dissident communists Trotsky (2006) and Tito (2011).

About the Series

Seminar Studies

Each book in the Seminar Studies series provides a concise and reliable introduction to a wide range of complex historical events and debates, covering topics in British, European, US and world history from the early modern period to the present day. Written by acknowledged experts and including supporting material such as extracts from historical documents, chronologies, glossaries, guides to key figures and further reading suggestions, Seminar Studies titles are essential reading for students of history.

Almost half a century after its launch, the series continues to introduce students to the problems involved in explaining the past, giving them the opportunity to grapple with historical documents and encouraging them to reach their own conclusions. To submit proposals for new books in the Seminar Studies series, please contact the series editors:

Clive.Emsley: clive.emsley @

Gordon Martel: Gordon.Martel @

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / Europe / Russia & the Former Soviet Union
HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century