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Robert Service, 24 January 1991

The Russian Revolution 1899-1919 
by Richard Pipes.
Harvill, 946 pp., £20, December 1990, 0 00 272086 8
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... past – which is only seven decades old – and the Soviet present in separate analytical boxes. Richard Pipes resisted the pressure to choose between historical and political specialisms. He matched his articles on Khrushchev and Brezhnev with works on the origins of Russian Marxism. His first book, on the foundation of the Soviet Union as a ...

The Rise and Fall of the Baggy-Trousered Barbarians

Sheila Fitzpatrick: Soviet historiography, 19 August 2004

Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger 
by Richard Pipes.
Yale, 264 pp., £19.95, January 2004, 0 300 10165 1
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Adventures in Russian Historical Research: Reminiscences of American Scholars from the Cold War to the Present 
edited by Samuel Baron and Cathy Frierson.
Sharpe, 272 pp., £18.50, June 2003, 9780765611970
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... Richard Pipes, Russian historian at Harvard and sometime member of President Reagan’s National Security Council, is famous for his hatred of Communism. He doesn’t like Russia much, either. Nor does he particularly care for most Russia and Soviet experts, regarding them as given to romanticising and whitewashing their subject ...


John Klier, 19 April 1990

... trend’, exemplified by the works of émigré or foreign historians, such as Alexander Yanov and Richard Pipes. He decries the ‘archetypes’ which these authors find in the Russian psyche: a lack of self-worth, intolerance of the opinions of others, and a mixture of spite, envy and worship of external power. Worst of all is the sadomasochistic ...

Raskolnikov into Pnin

Tony Wood: Betraying the People’s Will in Tsarist Russia, 4 December 2003

The Degaev Affair: Terror and Treason in Tsarist Russia 
by Richard Pipes.
Yale, 153 pp., £16.95, April 2003, 0 300 09848 0
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... American citizen and, by 1897, professor of mathematics at the new University of South Dakota. Richard Pipes’s The Degaev Affair is the first book-length treatment of the extraordinary lives of Sergei Degaev: his double role as revolutionary and agent provocateur up to 1883, and his subsequent life in America, a life so utterly distinct from what ...

I was warmer in prison

Vadim Nikitin: ‘A Terrible Country’, 11 October 2018

A Terrible Country 
by Keith Gessen.
Fitzcarraldo, 352 pp., £12.99, July 2018, 978 1 910695 76 0
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... good or even brilliant in terms of historiography) falls into three camps: the conservative right (Richard Pipes), neoliberal right (Anne Applebaum, Timothy Snyder) or the cravenly apolitical centre (Timothy Colton). They all treat Russia as a problem to be solved. What is the underlying reason, they ask, for Russia’s deviance from the ...

What’s Left?

Sheila Fitzpatrick: The Russian Revolution, 30 March 2017

October: The Story of the Russian Revolution 
by China Miéville.
Verso, 358 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 78478 280 1
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The Russian Revolution 1905-1921 
by Mark D. Steinberg.
Oxford, 388 pp., £19.99, February 2017, 978 0 19 922762 4
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Russia in Revolution: An Empire in Crisis, 1890 to 1928 
by S.A. Smith.
Oxford, 455 pp., £25, January 2017, 978 0 19 873482 6
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The Russian Revolution: A New History 
by Sean McMeekin.
Basic, 496 pp., $30, May 2017, 978 0 465 03990 6
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Historically Inevitable? Turning Points of the Russian Revolution 
by Tony Brenton.
Profile, 364 pp., £25, June 2016, 978 1 78125 021 1
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... a line of historical inevitability.’ In an attack on the whole ‘what if?’ genre of history, Richard J. Evans has suggested that ‘in practice … counterfactuals have been more or less a monopoly of the Right’ with Marxism as target. That’s not necessarily true of the Brenton volume, despite the inclusion of right-wing political historians like ...

Hammers for Pipes

Richard Fortey: The Beginnings of Geology, 9 February 2006

Bursting the Limits of Time 
by Martin Rudwick.
Chicago, 840 pp., £31.50, December 2005, 0 226 73111 1
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... The story of the birth of the science as we know it is one of learned men abandoning their pipes for the hammer, witnessing volcanic or sedimentary phenomena in the field and then circulating papers to their fellows, who might find travel to Auvergne or the Alps too arduous an undertaking at a time of rutted tracks and lawlessness. For much of this ...


Sheila Fitzpatrick: A Leninist version of Soviet history, 1 September 2005

The Soviet Century 
by Moshe Lewin, edited by Gregory Elliott.
Verso, 416 pp., £25, February 2005, 1 84467 016 3
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... new material on Lenin’s more bloodthirsty and ruthless side (see The Unknown Lenin, edited by Richard Pipes) or even the human side uncovered by Service. Lewin might also be called Leninist in his analysis of what went wrong with the Soviet Union: bureaucratism spoiled everything. ‘Bureaucracy’ has always been a dirty word in Soviet ...

Doctor Feelgood

R.W. Johnson, 3 March 1988

Reagan’s America: Innocents at Home 
by Garry Wills.
Heinemann, 488 pp., £14.95, February 1988, 0 434 86623 7
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... re-estimating of Soviet military potential in 1976. The more or less openly crazed Team B, led by Richard Pipes, was invited in by the CIA to re-work the Agency’s established estimates of its rival’s strength in such a way that the only possible thing for the US to do was to conduct a massive and feverish arms build-up. The figures arrived at by Team ...

Better to bend the stick too far

Sheila Fitzpatrick: The history of Russia, 4 February 1999

A History of 20th-Century Russia 
by Robert Service.
Allen Lane, 654 pp., £25, July 1998, 0 7139 9148 8
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... this outcome was less gratifying. It infuriated anti-revisionist stalwarts like Martin Malia and Richard Pipes, who consider that in 1991 their side won the Sovietological argument along with the Cold War, and that this victory should be duly acknowledged. Malia’s complaint that he has been marginalised in an academic field whose members refuse to ...

Mirror Images

Christopher Andrew, 3 April 1986

World of Secrets: The Uses and Limits of Intelligence 
by Walter Laqueur.
Weidenfeld, 404 pp., £25, November 1985, 0 297 78745 4
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... of overlapping agencies, each competing for Presidential attention, and believing, in the words of Richard Helms (DCI 1966-73), that it had ‘to have a publication that arrives in the White House every morning’. Because of presidents’ short attention spans and crowded time-tables, the ‘publications’ have increasingly resembled tabloid newspapers ...

Crazy America

Edward Said, 19 March 1981

... to the US to decide what constitutes allowable and non-allowable changes. A like-minded colleague, Richard Pipes of Harvard, suggested that the new Administration reclassify the world into two simple camps: pro-Communist nations and anti-Communist nations. If the return to the Cold War seems on one level to entail a new assertiveness, it has also ...

People and Martians

Sheila Fitzpatrick, 24 January 2019

The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties 
by Robert Conquest.
Bodley Head, 576 pp., £20, November 2018, 978 1 84792 568 8
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The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivisation and the Terror-Famine 
by Robert Conquest.
Bodley Head, 412 pp., £20, November 2018, 978 1 84792 567 1
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... had none of the self-involvement of (say) Alain Besançon, the humourless righteousness of Richard Pipes or Leonard Schapiro’s cold disdain. There was a jokey, blokey aspect to Conquest, a whiff of the Oxford debating society and student satirical review, that made him an anomalous figure in international Sovietology, which – apart from Abe ...

Will the Empire ever end?

John Lloyd, 27 January 1994

Pandaemonium: Ethnicity in International Politics 
by Daniel Patrick Moynihan.
Oxford, 221 pp., £17.95, March 1993, 0 19 827787 3
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Nations and Politics in the Soviet Successor States 
edited by Ian Bremner and Ray Taras.
Cambridge, 577 pp., £55, December 1993, 0 521 43281 2
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The Post-Soviet Nations 
edited by Alexander Motyl.
Columbia, 322 pp., £23, November 1993, 0 231 07894 3
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The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence 
by Anatol Lieven.
Yale, 454 pp., £22.50, June 1993, 0 300 05552 8
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... honour containing those – Hélène Carrière d’Encausse, Robert Conquest, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Richard Pipes – who did see the fuse peeping out from the foundations and said as much. Indeed, a whole issue (Spring 1993) of the conservative US journal National Interest was largely devoted to a celebration of the Right’s greater prescience in ...


Sheila Fitzpatrick: Stalin’s Origins, 1 November 2007

Young Stalin 
by Simon Sebag Montefiore.
Weidenfeld, 397 pp., £25, May 2007, 978 0 297 85068 7
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... and disparate assembly of scholars, from Robert Tucker, Ronald Suny and Alexander Rabinowitch to Richard Pipes and Robert Conquest. His reading in secondary sources is broad, and includes s0me Russian and German. It’s a lesser work in every sense than Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar, which came out first though it deals with a later period. The ...

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