March 18, 2014–In light of the startling events in Ukraine and Crimea in recent months, this is an appropriate time to draw readers’ attention to one of seminal books of 20th century Marxism–Leon Trotsky’s materialist assessment of what went wrong why the Russian Revolution of 1917 faltered and how the counterrevolutionary bureaucracy headed by Joseph Stalin came to usurp and destroy it.
Below is a collection of brief reviews on ‘GoodReads’.
Jun 29, 2007, El Galan rated it 5 of 5 stars
To anyone who wants to know the difference between Stalinism and true Communism. This is a most excellent book for all of those who want to know the difference between false Communism and true Communism. International freedom fighter Leon Trotsky unmasks the hypocrisy of the Stalinist dictatorship in Russia after the death of Lenin.
Feb 08, 2012, Andy Hempe rated it 5 of 5 stars
One of the most important political works of the 20th century. Explains what the Soviet Union started out as, and what it became. Essential reading for anyone interested in the history of socialism. As Trotsky wrote, the Soviet Union was not a communist country, and not even a socialist one; it was half way between capitalism and socialism.
Feb 11, 2013, Tom Michalak rated it 4 of 5 stars
His analysis of the Soviet Union’s development from the Great October Revolution’s inception is a surprisingly well-balanced, materialist one. Going into the book, judging from (my copy’s) picture of a scowling Stalin and the title (which I’ve heard was originally when Trotsky wrote it “The Revolution Deformed”), I imagined it was going to be anti-communist ravings, when it wasn’t.
The Trotsky I was familiar with until actually reading what he had to say, as opposed to Trotskyist parties of the Chris Harman, Tony Cliff, and ones like them claiming title to the Trotsky legacy have proven to be little more than petit-bourgeois enemies of socialism. “Trotskyists” and Leon Trotsky have little more in common than a horse has with a plate of green beans. They tout the line of “state capitalism”, which Trotsky dismisses clearly as nonsense. They cheered on the fall of the Socialist Bloc in Europe, while Trotsky upheld the Soviet Union’s proletarian class character.
Dec 24, 2012, Shea Mastison rated it 2 of 5 stars
“The motor force of progress is truth and not lies.” Trotsky is an interesting political figure from the 20th century. He was the ‘Left Opposition’ to Stalin; and a political scapegoat for nearly every catastrophe that befell the Soviet Union after Lenin’s death. In this book, Trotsky uses wit and cold facts to dismantle the bureaucratic mess that was the U.S.S.R.
It’s not that Trotsky disagrees with the objectives; he’s just highly skeptical of the “new aristocracy” that had built itself upon the dictatorship of the proletariat. It seems that Marxists of various stripes are awfully good at criticism; but their solutions are fantastically unimpressive.
Feb 02, 2014, James Richardson rated it 5 of 5 stars
Great Book! Suffice it to say that the Soviet Union and the history thereof would have been much different had Trotsky had succeeded Lenin instead of Stalin!!
Jul 20, 2013 Comrade Mohd Aliff rated it 4 of 5 stars
Leon Trotsky, a dear comrade to Lenin, writting his assessment of the Russian/Bolshevik Revolution 1917, the challenges facing that revolution and how socialism’s bastard child, Stalin, betrayed the revolution’s main ideas. The introduction serves the book well, describing Trotsky’s method while placing his analysis in historical context and tracing its political implications. I hope and I believe ‘The Revolution Betrayed’ will find a wide readership in coming years. Trotsky, who was expelled from the Soviet Union in 1929, was murdered in 1940 in Mexico by Stalin’s secret police.
Sep 14, 2013, Radostinski rated it 4 of 5 stars
This is probably one of the most important books on the Soviet Union. If you are interested in its degeneration and the future collapse of the Eastern bloc, this is the perfect book to start with. As was the case with the most genuine revolutionaries, Trotsky tended to overestimate the revolutionary potential of the masses. In this book he professes that either there will be a new workers’ revolution or capitalism will be restored in Russia. Well, guess what happened at the end.
Mar 16, 2014, Sergey Artamonov rated it 5 of 5 stars
являюсь поклонником Льва Троцкого, но книгу эту прочитал с большим удовольствием. Здесь говорится об одном из самых интересных (лично для меня) периодов истории России – 20-30-х годах XX века. Троцкий даёт довольно подробный анализ тогдашней ситуации в СССР, показывает несоответствие сталинских лозунгов реальному положению дел и утверждает, что сталинская стройка даже отдалённо не напоминает коммунизм. Для меня, интересующегося историей, многие факты были в новинку, а уже известные – предстали в совершенно ином свете. Конечно, за этим текстом видится личная обида (всё-таки борьбу Троцкий Сталину проиграл), но, в целом, объективность от этого страдает не сильно. На мой взгляд, баланс между публицистичностью и научностью соблюдён идеально.
Конечно, сам Лев Давидович был далеко не ангелом, но осознание этого факта не должно помешать читателю разобраться вместе с автором в причинах тогдашней трагедии нашей страны.
P.S. Есть ощущение, что Оруэлл тоже читал “Преданную революцию”.