As part of the effort by Mehring Books to make its library of Marxist classics available to the widest possible readership, we are pleased to announce the launch of an eBook version of In Defense of Leon Trotsky, by David North, chairman of the international editorial board of the World Socialist Web Site.
This book is vital reading. It raises important issues of scholarship about several biographies of Leon Trotsky, co-leader of the Russian Revolution and implacable opponent of Stalin. In particular, North critiques the recently published biography of Trotsky by British historian Robert Service. North demonstrates that Service’s work fails to meet basic standards of historical research, drawing heavily on old Stalinist slanders against Trotsky.
The publication of North’s book has initiated an international controversy over Service’s biography. Fourteen prominent European historians wrote an open letter in which they opposed the planned publication of Service’s book in German, and the publishing house Suhrkamp has been forced to delay putting it out.
Last summer the prestigious academic journal The American Historical Review published a joint review of In Defense of Leon Trotsky and Service’s Trotsky biography. The reviewer, historian Bertrand Patenaude, wrote, “A careful examination of North’s book shows his criticism of Service to be exactly what Trotsky scholar Baruch Knei-Paz, in a blurb on the back cover, says it is: ‘detailed, meticulous, well-argued and devastating.’”
North writes that the aim of these historical falsifications is to forestall a resurgence of interests in the great revolutionist at a time when millions of people are becoming disenchanted with capitalism.
The paperback version of North’s book can be ordered from Mehring Books here.