Image via –

One thing that will set apart a Band 5 from a Band 6 in the Personality Study of Modern History is use of historiography. While Part A of this response is typically a lower-order ‘describe’ style question, Part B will always be evaluative and require you to make your own judgement surrounding your chosen historical personality.

Through using reputable historians, your own understanding of your chosen personality will be enhanced, as it will encourage you to think EVALUATIVELY and come to your own conclusions surrounding the influence of your personality upon history.

As I studied Leon Trotsky, I have compiled a collection of 6 great historians and a few quotes that are worth your time to learn so you can be on the way to a Band 6 response. When looking at these quotes, try and identify what parts of the Modern History syllabus they fall under and how they could help you answer an essay question.



  • “Fell in love with the written word”
  • “The mask of Bonaparte seemed to fit Trotsky only too well”
  • “Best Bolshevik”
Further reading: The Prophet Armed: Trotsky, 1879–1921 (1954), The Prophet Unarmed: Trotsky, 1921–1929 (1959) and The Prophet Outcast: Trotsky, 1929–1940 (1963)


  • “Of all the Marxists it was Trotsky who best foresaw the course of events in Russia”
  • “This way of life among the Bronstein’s enabled their son all the more quickly to abandon the whole tradition of ‘Jewishness’”
Further reading: Leon Trotsky (1978)


  • “The Bolsheviks would have not come to power without Trotsky”
  • “It was not until his exile that internationalism became central to Trotsky’s purpose”
  • “If Trotsky had won the power struggle with Stalin the USSR would have been a more organised society”
Further reading: Trotsky (2006)


4. E.H. CARR

“Trotsky was the hero of the revolution, he fell when the heroic age was over”
Further reading: The Russian Revolution: From Lenin to Stalin (1917–1929) (1979), A history of Soviet Russia (1950-1978)


“Was the instigator of his own downfall due to personality failings”
Further reading: Trotsky: The eternal revolutionary (1992)


  • “The strongest cement in the new army was the ideas of the October Revolution, and the train supplied the front with this cement”
  • “I think that the work I am to be engaged in now is the most important in my life – more important than 1917, more important than the period of civil war or any other”
Further reading: The Revolution Betrayed (1937), History of the Russian Revolution (1932) and The Third International after Lenin (1928)