Reform Impossible?

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

Resurrected: “The 74th Anniversary”

This and other posts titled “Resurrected” are reposts from an earlier blog I kept that now, thanks to no longer being affiliated with UNC–Chapel Hill, I cannot continue to use. I’m adding them to jumpstart the process, and to provide some examples of the kind of commentary I envision adding in the coming weeks and … Continue reading Resurrected: “The 74th Anniversary”