Review by Booklist Review
An ace at history in comics form (e.g., his Treasury of Victorian Murder series), Geary turns here to the Russian revolution as seen through the life of Leon Trotsky (né Lev Davidovich Bronstein, 1879-1940). Trotsky's transformation from political commentator to political figure is well documented, as is his demanding life as a key player in the revolution, who endured imprisonment before and after, and exile in the wake of Stalin's ascendancy. Geary expresses sympathy toward Trotsky's family's struggle to find peace during his exile and following his murder in Mexico. Geary's style is similar to that of a documentary film, for his illustrations, reminiscent of black-and-white photos, impart the feeling of a historical period being commented upon by voice-over narration. Most panels are crammed with information, and very little of the text is cast as dialogue, a staple of the comics form. Consequently, reading it is rather a meditative experience, in contrast to the aura of high action most conventional comics conjure.--Weiner, Stephen Copyright 2009 Booklist
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
A principle architect and hero of the Russian Revolution, then a pariah and exile under Stalin, Leon Trotsky, born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, is a perpetually controversial figure, which makes the tameness of this graphic biography so disconcerting. Geary does a good job treating a touchy subject objectively, but that objectivity is detrimental in the long run: there is no context or commentary, no point of view, and while none of the facts and philosophies behind the Russian revolution are hidden, it is all relatively passionless. The text is basically a verbose time line, reinforcing the feeling that this book is a sort of supplement for some unseen history textbook. The primary customers for this book will be Geary's fans, and they won't be disappointed. Best known for his ongoing series of graphic novels looking at famed murders, here he recreates Russia of the period in his own distinct style. It's instantly recognizable while never distracting; detailed, but not cluttered. Occasional flights of fancy, like his portraits of Trotsky done in the style of negative and positive propaganda posters, are wonderful, and the book suffers from not having more like them. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 10 Up-Geary leads readers chronologically through Trotsky's exile by Tsarist Russia, his instrumental part in the Bolshevik Revolution, and his varied roles in foreign affairs during World War I and as leader of the Red Army during a civil war. A key theme is Trotsky's back and forth and back again relationship with Lenin. Lenin's death in 1924 left a void for power-hungry Stalin to seize control and eventually force Trotsky into political exile. He met his death by a Stalinist assassin. Geary's familiar cartoonlike drawing style and factual presentation make this title an accessible and concise introduction to Trotsky's life.-Matthew L. Moffett, Pohick Regional Library, Burke, VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review
Illustrated life of Lev Davidovich Bronstein, aka Leon Trotsky (1879 1940), "the brain behind the Russian Revolution." Lenin would have something to say about that bold claim, but there's no doubt that Trotsky provided intellectual guidance for the uprising and, briefly, the communist state that followed. The text and images are sometimes over-the-top even by graphic-novel standards; the angry kulaks and sinister, bomb-tossing anarchists could have come from a tsarist recruiting poster. Still, Geary (J. Edgar Hoover: A Graphic Biography, 2008, etc.) ably distills the events that occupied many hundreds of pages written by Marxist historian Isaac Deutscher and Trotsky himself, touching on such matters as the idea of permanent revolution and the impossibility of socialism in one country. Geary traces Trotsky's evolution from farm boy to bookish adolescent to revolutionary to Bolshevik strategist. He also provides a solid, if necessarily brief, account of the rivalry that developed between Trotsky, desirous of power, and Joseph Stalin, even more so, and the unhappy conclusion to which that rivalry eventually led. Why Lenin "did not promote Trotsky above any other comrade," however, remains a mystery. At least Trotsky, veteran of tsarist prisons and armored trains, got to dally with Frida Kahlo for a few happy moments before the endbut that end is plenty graphic, so to speak, and Geary does not shy from depicting it. A swift-moving, generally accurate view of Trotsky's life, guaranteed to send orthodox Stalinists into fits. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.