Joshua Rubenstein will discuss his book on Leon Trotsky, a volume in the Jewish Lives Series of Yale University Press.
In his presentation, Rubenstein will explore Trotsky's career as a determined revolutionary, the tragedies that overtook his family, and his own ambivalent attitude toward his Jewish origins. Born Lev Davidovich Bronstein, Trotsky regarded himself first and foremost as a Marxist revolutionary. But Nazis and Stalinists alike denounced him as a Jew, using antisemitic attacks against him for their own purposes. And there were times when Trotsky must have surprised himself with his eloquent denunciations of anti-Jewish violence. For Rubenstein, Trotsky was a Jew in spite of himself. As part of his talk, Rubenstein will also compare his approach to Trotsky with other major biographies, most notably the work of Isaac Deutscher and Robert Service.