On Twitter, I've seen several replies to Keith Gessen's response to William Taubman's new biography of Mikhail Gorbachev. I'm writing this having not yet read the book, although I think now I'll have to add it to the to-do list. The passage I want to respond to—and about which I think Gessen does a good job … Continue reading Reform Impossible?
A Question: Narrating the Soviet Union
In conversations this week with fellow historians, I have returned often to the question of why public knowledge of the Soviet Union is so limited, and interpretations so traditional and conservative. For evidence of the fact, we need look no further than the Applebaum commentary I wrote about last week. I know that fantastic historians … Continue reading A Question: Narrating the Soviet Union
The Russian Revolution Was Not the Material for Your Modern Day Morality Play
Given that this is the centenary of Russia's October Revolution, I am not at all surprised that the internet, including mainstream outlets like the Washington Post, is full of reflections on those events. Many of them are thoughtful and offer considered evaluations of the revolution and its legacies. This one is not one of them. … Continue reading The Russian Revolution Was Not the Material for Your Modern Day Morality Play
A First Post
I'm writing to begin what I hope will develop into a long-term, ongoing conversation.