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Trotsky 'was not a radical saint'

12th October 2009

A new biography of Trotsky dispels the myth that he was a good man simply because he was one of Stalin's greatest enemies.

Reviewing Robert Service's Trotsky for the Daily Telegraph, Simon Sebag Montefiore pointed out that the Communist leader has been lauded as a 'fashionable radical saint', mainly because of the animosity which Stalin directed at him.

However, Service has scrutinised the validity of this reputation in his 'outstanding, fascinating biography', which Sebag Montefiore claims is the best account of Trotsky's life since Isaac Deutscher's trilogy on the leader.

The book examines Trotsky's love-life, such as his affairs with English sculptor Clare Sheridan and artist Frida Kahlo, as well as his political beliefs, which Service argues would have included genocide if it had been necessary to advance the Communist cause.

'If Trotsky had become dictator, Service is clear that while Russia would have avoided Stalin's personal sadism, the same millions would still have been killed,' Sebag Montefiore wrote.

Another hero's reputation was put under the microscope recently, as Dr Simon Young's new work The Celtic Revolution looked at the historical basis for King Arthur.

Dr Young told the Daily Telegraph that his book aims to portray King Arthur as a violent and unpleasant ruler, not the benevolent leader of English legend.

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