Mohrbooks Literary Agency
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Counterpoint (2016-09)
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Original language


A Radical on the Eve of Revolution

by Ackerman, Kenneth

The first book to tackle Leon Trotsky's sojourn in New York City and the implications it had for world history.

Lev Davidovich Trotsky burst onto the world stage in November 1917 as co-leader of a Marxist Revolution seizing power in Russia. It made him one of the most recognized personalities of the 20th Century, a global icon of radical change. Yet just months earlier, this same Lev Trotsky was a nobody, a refugee expelled from Europe, writing obscure pamphlets and speeches, barely noticed outside a small circle of fellow travelers. Where had he come from to topple Russia and change the world? Where else but New York City! During his ten weeks in New York, Trotsky immersed himself in the local scene and his clashes with leading New York socialists over the question of US entry into WWI would reshape the American left for the next fifty years.

Kenneth D. Ackerman is author of Boss Tweed: The Corrupt Pol Who Conceived the Soul of the Modern New York (Carroll & Graf 2006), Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A Garfield (Carrol & Graf 2004) and Young J. Edgar: Hoover and the Red Scare, 1919-1920 (DaCapo 2008). He served for more than 25 years in senior posts on Capitol Hill and in the Executive Branch, including as counsel to two U.S. Senate committees and as administrator of the Department of Agriculture’s Risk Management Agency during the Clinton-Gore administration.

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Mohrbooks Literary Agency
Annelie Geissler

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Pick of the Week:

Review: Publishers Weekly

China: Zhejiang Literature and Art Publishing House

Quote: Counterpoint

Kenneth D. Ackerman interviewed on "Trotsky in New York, 1917: A Radical on the Eve of Revolution"

Quote: NY Blueprint

Attorney and amateur historian Ackerman (Young J. Edgar: Hoover and the Red Scare, 1919-1920) creates a lively portrait of this tireless agitator … In boisterous prose well-matched to his topic, the author also convincingly evokes the social ferment of New York's huge immigrant community: polyglot, united in hatred of the czarist government, and receptive to socialism but arguing endlessly and urgently about political theory and strategy. Ackerman succeeds in presenting Trotsky's little-known weeks in New York as an absorbing adventure, though much greater adventures lay ahead. An entertaining and informative account of a footnote to the life of one of the 20th century's most charismatic leaders.

Review: Kirkus

The revolutionist’s 10-week stay in New York makes for fascinating reading.

Review: Washington Independent Review of Books

Exhaustively researched, impressively well written, exceptionally accessible in organization and presentation, Trotsky in New York, 1917: Portrait of a Radical on the Eve of Revolution by Kenneth D. Ackerman is a seminal work on the life and times of Leon Trotsky.

Review: Midwest Book Review

[Ackerman] is a gifted storyteller. He has unearthed a wealth of previously little known material and produced from it a book that is appealing and thought-provoking. . . . it deserves a wide audience. The author’s empathy for “old” New York is vivid and deep, as is his fascination with Leon Trotsky.

Review: World Socialist Web Site

Author Kenneth Ackerman explores the life of the Jewish radical in the weeks leading up to the overthrow of the Russian Provisional Government

Quote: The Times of Israel

Ackerman explores not only the revolutionary’s life in the city, but the worldwide circumstances that brought him there and where he would head after. What emerges is not only a portrait of a man and the landscape of a city, but how the two influenced each other—and how the results swayed world history.

Review: Jacobin

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Review: New York Post

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