Plots and tenderness

Just four months before an agent of Joseph Stalin's secret police shattered his skull with an alpine axe in 1940, Bolshevik Revolutionary Leader Leon Trotsky sold his confidential correspondence to Harvard for $10,000. Last week the university's Houghton Library unveiled it. Included were Trotsky's own copies of 17,500 letters written by him and to him from 1927 to 1940, and kept under wraps ever since at Trotsky's own insistence, in order to protect his correspondents from Stalin's possible retribution.

Trotsky's letters disclose a new and fascinating personal dimension of...

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