Tony Blair calls biography of Russian Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky most inspiring book

Prime Minister Tony Blair, who wrenched his party from the left to the center of the political spectrum, said Thursday he had been inspired to enter politics by a book about socialist icon Leon Trotsky.

Blair said Isaac Deutscher's biography of the Russian communist leader was the book that meant the most to him.

Launching a World Book Day event at London 's Commonwealth Club, he said the book he read most often was "Flat Stanley," a children's story loved by his 5-year-old son Leo.

Deutscher's three-volume work "The Prophet Armed, "The Prophet Unarmed" and "The Prophet Outcast" paints a sympathetic portrait of Trotsky, who helped Vladimir Lenin lead the 1917 Russian revolution but was later driven out by Joseph Stalin. He was murdered by an agent of Stalin in Mexico in 1940.

"I might as well make a confession now," Blair said. "There were people who got me very involved in politics. But then there was also a book."

Blair said the work "made a very deep impression on me and gave me a love of political biography for the rest of my life."

"My association with books has continued through the rest of my adult life, but particularly with my children," Blair said.

"Even now with my 5-year-old, I know more about Flat Stanley than I ever really wanted to."

The Trotsky revelation may surprise many members of Blair's Labour Party. When Blair took the helm in 1994, he waged war on its traditional left wing, shedding socialist principles such as nationalization and moving the party sharply to the center. He won election in 1997, ending 18 years of Conservative rule, and has been re-elected twice, reports the AP.


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