Kenneth D. Ackerman has made old New York a favorite subject in his writing, including his critically acclaimed biography BOSS TWEED: The Corrupt Pol who Conceived the Soul of modern New York. He now returns to New York in a different era, the exciting eve of American entry into World War I, for his first major new book in nine years.
Beyond his writing, Ackerman has served a long legal career in Washington, D.C. both inside as out of government, including as counsel to two U.S. Senate committees, regulatory posts in both the Reagan and Clinton administrations, and as administrator of the Department of Agriculture's Risk Management Agency. He continues to practice private law in Washington.
"Ackerman takes the obscure story of Leon Trotsky's 10–week stay in New York City in early 1917 and succeeds in painting a picture of a man on the cusp of greatness . . . His brief stay in N.Y.C. may remain a historical footnote, but Ackerman clearly demonstrates the forcefulness of Trotsky's revolutionary spirit.” —Publishers Weekly
“Ackerman creates a lively portrait of this tireless agitator adjusting his personal life and his politics to a strange country a few months before the Bolsheviks seized power at home. In boisterous prose well–matched to his topic, the author also convincingly evokes the social ferment of New York's huge immigrant community . . . 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.” —Kirkus
“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.” —Jacobin
“[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.” —World Socialist Website
“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.” —Midwest Book Review