When the great Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky was assassinated by a Stalinist GPU agent in 1940 in Mexico, he left unfinished a biography of Joseph Stalin, the gravedigger of the revolution. David North, in his six-part series titled “Trotsky’s Last Year,” calls this work “a masterpiece,” despite it being incomplete and unedited at the time of Trotsky’s murder.
North explains the unique perspective Trotsky brought to his analysis: “Trotsky’s biography is informed by an unequaled knowledge of the economic, social, cultural and political environment in which the revolutionary workers’ movement developed throughout the vast Russian Empire. Trotsky’s recreation of Stalin’s personality is not a caricature. The persona of Djughashvili-Stalin, as Trotsky demonstrates, was shaped by the backward conditions of his family upbringing and the cultural and political environment within which his early political activities unfolded.”
This version, published in 2016, is edited by Alan Woods, with a far more conscientious approach to the translation and organization of the manuscript than attempted in the 1940s.