Trotsky in New York, 1917
Kenneth D. Ackerman

Book cover image

Narrated By: Stefan Rudnicki

Duration: 11 hours and 32 minutes

What to expect

Lev Davidovich Trotsky burst onto the world stage in November 1917 as coleader of a Marxist Revolution seizing power in Russia. It made him one of the most recognized personalities of the twentieth 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? New York City.

Between January and March 1917, Trotsky found refuge in the United States. America had kept itself out of the European Great War, leaving New York the freest city on earth. During his time there—just over ten weeks—Trotsky immersed himself in the local scene. He settled his family in the Bronx, edited a radical left wing tabloid in Greenwich Village, sampled the lifestyle, and plunged headlong into local politics. His clashes with leading New York socialists over the question of US entry into World War I would reshape the American left for the next fifty years.


Biography: historical, political and military, Political leaders and leadership

Listen to a sample

“Ackerman takes the obscure story of Leon Trotsky’s ten-week stay in New York City in early 1917 and succeeds in painting a picture of a man on the cusp of greatness…Trotsky was a tireless believer in the revolution he would soon help bring to his homeland. His brief stay in NYC may remain a historical footnote, but Ackerman clearly demonstrates the forcefulness of Trotsky’s revolutionary spirit.”

Publishers Weekly

“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 twentieth century’s most charismatic leaders.”

Kirkus Reviews

“A seminal study based soundly upon a truly impressive body of detailed and documented research…impressively informed and informative”