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7.23.2007
My Life by Leon Trotsky
Autobiographical account by a leader of the October 1917 Russian revolution, the Soviet Red Army, and the battle initiated by Lenin against the Stalinist bureaucracy. Trotsky's theory of 'permanent revolution' became unpopular after Stalin had gained power in the Soviet Union. Stalin seized control of the Soviet Union after Lenin died in 1924 and began a relentless effort to purge all possible rivals. Leon Trotsky, the Russian Jewish Revolutionary leader who had been Lenin's principal assistant, was Stalin's biggest threat. Fearing for his life, Trotsky left Russia in 1929, but was unable to convince any country to let him settle in exile. Eventually, Mexico agreed. During his absence, Trotsky was convicted of two accounts of treason by the Soviet courts and sentenced to death. As a result, Trotsky took great pains to secure his Mexican home. After a machine gun attack by the secret police in 1940, he built additional defensive pillboxes, constructed a fifteen foot high wall surrounding his house, and increased his staff of bodyguards. Later that summer, he became friends with a friend of a former employee, Frank Jackson. Unfortunately for Trotsky, Jackson was actually Ramon Mercader, a Spanish communist who had been sent by Stalin. One day, while Trotsky was meeting with Jackson in his home office, Jackson struck him in the back of the head with a mountaineer's ice ax. Trotsky ran screaming from the room and collapsed saying "I feel . . ." He was taken to the hospital where he spoke his final words to his wife while being prepared for surgery.

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