Dr. Robert Conquest, British historian and renowned writer and researcher of the Soviet Union; Jefferson Lecturer in the Humanities.
At a time when Western academics were conspicuously uncritical of the Soviet regime, Robert Conquest almost single-handedly sought to expose the realities of Stalinist rule and proved to be almost entirely accurate in his characterization of the Soviet policies in the 1930s.
His book, The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties (1968), continues to be assigned by instructors teaching twentieth-century Russian history; Harvest of Sorrow (1986) exposed the horrors of the famine that resulted from the policy of collectivization; while The Nation Killers: The Soviet Deportation of Nationalities (1970) brilliantly anticipated much recent scholarship on “Stalin’s ethnic cleansing.”
Conquest was exceptionally prolific, publishing 32 books in his career, including eight volumes of poetry. But his most enduring contribution was The Great Terror. Conquest’s achievement is all the more remarkable considering that he was systematically excluded from the Soviet archives. Consequently, he was forced to be exceptionally creative in his research methods.
Dr. Conquest is widely acclaimed, with honors including the Jefferson Lectureship (the highest honor bestowed by the federal government for achievement in the humanities), the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Rita Ricardo-Campbell and W. Glenn Campbell Uncommon Book Award, Poland’s Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit, and Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, UK.
He was a Fellow of the British Academy, the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies, and the British Interplanetary Society, as well as of the Hoover Institution at Stanford. He was a research fellow at the London School of Economics, a fellow of the Columbia University Russian Institute and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, a distinguished visiting scholar at the Heritage Foundation, and a research associate of Harvard University’s Ukrainian Research Institute.