William T. Vollmann was born in Los Angeles in 1959 and attended Deep Springs College and Cornell University. He is the author of many works of fiction, long and short, including The Royal Family, You Bright and Risen Angels, Whores for Gloria, and The Rainbow Stories, as well as an ongoing series of seven novels, collectively entitled Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes, about the collision between the native populations of North America and their colonizers and oppressors. (Four volumes have been published so far: The Ice-Shirt, Fathers and Crows, Argall: The True Story of Pocahontas and Captain John Smith, and The Rifles.) Vollmann has also written two works of non-fiction: An Afghanistan Picture Show, which describes his crossing into Afghanistan with a group of Islamic commandos in 1982, and Rising Up and Rising Down, a treatise on violence. He lives in California.

NYR DAILY

The Trotsky Paradox

Leon Trotsky

Bernard Wolfe’s The Great Prince Died: A Novel About the Assassination of Trotsky stands or falls by its invocation of the Kronstadt rebellion. If Trotsky was correct at Kronstadt, then his own murder could also be construed as right. If his murder stinks (as I most certainly believe), then he was wrong at Kronstadt, in which case his murder again becomes justified so long as he supports Kronstadt-like actions.