revitalizing history

Revitalizing History

Condoleezza Rice On Revitalizing History

The Hoover Institution was originally founded in 1919 as a repository of records about war and peacetime. Today, the Library & Archives holds among the world’s most important historical collections, supporting our fellowship’s efforts to inform policymakers and educate current and future generations about valuable lessons from the past.

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Doom

Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe

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The Second World Wars

The Second World Wars

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Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941

Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941

The historical act is essentially one of reconstitution of past thought. . . . You’re juxtaposing that past thought with your own thought, the thought of your own time  in order to be informed by it. You’re not studying it for its own sake; you’re interested in its implications, in the light that it sheds on your own predicament.

Milbank Family Senior Fellow Niall Ferguson quoting historian R. G. Collingwood in an interview with Tyler Cowen

Mercatus Center, George Mason University, July 28, 2021

Russia is a great power, but not the great power….In trying to match the West or at least manage the differential between Russia and the West, they resort to coercion.... The worst part of this dynamic in Russian history is the conflation of the Russian state with a personal ruler. Instead of getting the strong state that they want, to manage the gulf with the West and push and force Russia up to the highest level, they instead get a personalist regime. They get a dictatorship, which usually becomes a despotism. They’ve been in this bind for a while because they cannot relinquish that sense of exceptionalism, that aspiration to be the greatest power, but they cannot match that in reality.

Senior Fellow Stephen Kotkin

The New Yorker, March 11, 2022

Until recently, classical education served as the foundation of the wider liberal arts curriculum, which in turn defined the mission of the traditional university. Classical learning dedicated itself to turning out literate citizens who could read and write well, express themselves, and make sense of the confusion of the present by drawing on the wisdom of the past. Students grounded in the classics appreciated the history of their civilization and understood the rights and responsibilities of their unique citizenship. Universities, then, acted as cultural custodians, helping students understand our present values in the context of a 2,500-year tradition that began with the ancient Greeks.

Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow Victor Davis Hanson

City Journal, Autumn 2008

Fellows in this Conversation

Niall Ferguson

Milbank Family Senior Fellow

Niall Ferguson, MA, DPhil, FRSE, is the Milbank Family Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, and a senior faculty fellow of the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard. He is the author of sixteen books, including The Pity of War, The House of Rothschild, Empire, Civilization and Kissinger, 1923-1968: The Idealist, which won the Council on Foreign Relations Arthur Ross Prize. He is an award-making filmmaker, too, having won an international Emmy for his PBS series The Ascent of Money. His 2018 book, The Square and the Tower, was a New York Times bestseller and also adapted for television by PBS as Niall Ferguson’s Networld. In 2020 he joined Bloomberg Opinion as a columnist. In addition, he is the founder and managing director of Greenmantle LLC, a New York-based advisory firm, a co-founder of Ualá, a Latin American financial technology company, and a trustee of the New York Historical Society, the London-based Centre for Policy Studies, and the newly founded University of Austin. His latest book, Doom: The Politics of Catastrophe, was published last year by Penguin and was shortlisted for the Lionel Gelber Prize.

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Victor Davis Hanson

Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow

Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution; his focus is classics and military history.

Hanson was a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences, Stanford, California (1992–93), a visiting professor of classics at Stanford University (1991–92), the annual Wayne and Marcia Buske Distinguished Visiting Fellow in History at Hillsdale College (2004–), the Visiting Shifron Professor of Military History at the US Naval Academy (2002–3),and the William Simon Visiting Professor of Public Policy at Pepperdine University (2010).

In 1991 he was awarded an American Philological Association Excellence in Teaching Award. He received the Eric Breindel Award for Excellence in Opinion Journalism (2002), presented the Manhattan's Institute's Wriston Lecture (2004), and was awarded the National Humanities Medal (2007) and the Bradley Prize (2008).

Hanson is the author of hundreds of articles, book reviews, and newspaper editorials on Greek, agrarian, and military history and essays on contemporary culture. He has written or edited twenty-four books, the latest of which is The Case for Trump (Basic Books, 2019). His other books include The Second World Wars (Basic Books, 2017); The Savior Generals: How Five Great Commanders Saved Wars That Were Lost - from Ancient Greece to Iraq (Bloomsbury 2013); The End of Sparta (Bloomsbury, 2011); The Father of Us All: War and History, Ancient and Modern (Bloomsbury, 2010); Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome (ed.) (Princeton, 2010); The Other Greeks (California, 1998); The Soul of Battle (Free Press, 1999); Carnage and Culture (Doubleday, 2001); Ripples of Battle (Doubleday, 2003); A War Like No Other (Random House, 2005); The Western Way of War (Alfred Knopf, 1989; 2nd paperback ed., University of California Press, 2000); The Wars of the Ancient Greeks (Cassell, 1999; paperback ed., 2001); and Mexifornia: A State of Becoming (Encounter, 2003), as well as two books on family farming, Fields without Dreams (Free Press, 1995) and The Land Was Everything (Free Press, 1998). Currently, he is a syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services and a weekly columnist for the National Review Online.

Hanson received a BA in classics at the University of California, Santa Cruz (1975), was a fellow at the American School of Classical Studies, Athens (1977–78), and received his PhD in classics from Stanford University (1980).

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Stephen Kotkin

Kleinheinz Senior Fellow

In addition to his Hoover fellowship, Stephen Kotkin is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. He is also the Birkelund Professor in History and International Affairs emeritus at the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs (formerly the Woodrow Wilson School), where he taught for 33 years. He earned his PhD at the University of California–Berkeley and has been conducting research in the Hoover Library & Archives for more than three decades.

Kotkin’s research encompasses geopolitics and authoritarian regimes in history and in the present. His publications include Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941 (Penguin, 2017) and Stalin: Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928 (Penguin, 2014), two parts of a planned three-volume history of Russian power in the world and of Stalin’s power in Russia. He has also written a history of the Stalin system’s rise from a street-level perspective, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (University of California 1995); and a trilogy analyzing Communism’s demise, of which two volumes have appeared thus far: Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse 1970–2000 (Oxford, 2001; rev. ed. 2008) and Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment, with a contribution by Jan T. Gross (Modern Library, 2009). The third volume will be on the Soviet Union in the third world and Afghanistan. Kotkin’s publications and public lectures also often focus on Communist China.

Kotkin has participated in numerous events of the National Intelligence Council, among other government bodies, and is a consultant in geopolitical risk to Conexus Financial and Mizuho Americas. He served as the lead book reviewer for the New York Times Sunday Business Section for a number of years and continues to write reviews and essays for Foreign Affairsthe Times Literary Supplement, and the Wall Street Journal, among other venues. He has been an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, and a Guggenheim Fellow.

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Frank Dikötter

Senior Fellow (adjunct)

Frank Dikötter is chair professor of humanities at the University of Hong Kong and senior fellow (adjunct) at the Hoover Institution. Before moving to Asia in 2006, he was professor of the modern history of China at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. He was born in the Netherlands, educated in Switzerland, and received his PhD from the University of London in 1990. He holds an honorary doctorate from the University of Leiden.

Frank has published a dozen books that have changed the way we look at the history of China, from the classic The Discourse of Race in Modern China (Stanford University Press, 1992) to China before Mao: The Age of Openness (University of California Press, 2007). His Narcotic Culture: A History of Drugs in China (University of Chicago Press, 2004) used archives from China, Europe, and the United States to challenge one of the cornerstones of current international drug policy, namely, the idea that opium changed China into a nation of addicts.

Most recently he has published a People's Trilogy, using newly opened files from the Chinese Communist Party’s own archives to document the impact of communism on the lives of ordinary people under Mao. The first volume, Mao's Great Famine: The History of China’s Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962, won the 2011 BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction, Britain’s most prestigious book award for non-fiction. It was selected as a Book of the Year by The Economist, the Independent, the Sunday Times, the London Evening Standard, The Telegraph, the New Statesman and the Globe and Mail, and has been translated into thirteen languages. The Tragedy of Liberation: A History of the Chinese Revolution 1945-1957, was shortlisted for the Orwell Prize in 2014. The Cultural Revolution: A People’s History, 1962-1976 concludes the trilogy and was published in May 2016. He is currently working on a history of the cult of personality seen through the lives of eight dictators, from Mussolini to Mao and Mengistu.

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Michael R. Auslin

Payson J. Treat Distinguished Research Fellow in Contemporary Asia

Michael Auslin, PhD, is the Payson J. Treat Distinguished Research Fellow in Contemporary Asia at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. A historian by training, he specializes in US policy in Asia and geopolitical issues in the Indo-Pacific region.

Auslin is the author of six books, including Asia’s New Geopolitics: Essays on Reshaping the Indo-Pacific and the best-selling The End of the Asian Century: War, Stagnation, and the Risks to the World's Most Dynamic Region. He is a longtime contributor to the Wall Street Journal and National Review, and his writing appears in other leading publications, including the Financial Times, The Spectator, and Foreign Policy. He comments regularly for US and foreign print and broadcast media. 

Previously, Auslin was an associate professor of history at Yale University, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, and a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo. He is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the senior advisor for Asia at the Halifax International Security Forum, a senior fellow at London’s Policy Exchange, and a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. Among his honors are being named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, a Fulbright Scholar, and a German Marshall Fund Marshall Memorial Fellow. He serves on the board of the Wilton Park USA Foundation. 

Auslin hosts the podcast The Pacific Century, where he and his guests discuss the latest politics, economics, law, and cultural news in China and Asia, with a focus on US policy in the region.

Payson J. Treat, for whom Auslin’s current Stanford position is named, held the first professorship at an American university in what was then called Far Eastern history, a post created for him at Stanford in 1906.

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Timothy Garton Ash

Senior Fellow (adjunct)

Timothy Garton Ash, a senior fellow (adjunct) at the Hoover Institution, is an internationally acclaimed contemporary historian whose work has focused on Europe’s history since 1945. Garton Ash is in residence at Hoover on a part-time basis; he continues his work as professor of European studies and as Isaiah Berlin Professorial Fellow at St. Antony's College, Oxford University.

Among the topics he has covered are the liberation of Central Europe from communism, Germany before and after reunification, how countries deal with a difficult past, global free speech in the age of the internet and mass migration (see the 13-language interactive Oxford University project Free Speech Debate), and the European Union’s relationships with partners, including the United States and rising non-Western powers such as China.  He is currently working on a history of contemporary Europe and leading a major research project at Oxford on Europe's past and future.

His most recent book is a new edition of The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of 1989 as Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague (originally published 1990), with a major new chapter covering developments in central Europe over the last 30 years. His previous books include Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World (2016), Facts Are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade without a Name (2010); Free World: America, Europe and the Surprising Future of the West (2004); The File: A Personal History (1998); In Europe's Name: Germany and the Divided Continent (1993); The Polish Revolution: Solidarity, 1980–82 (1983); and Und Willst Du Nicht Mein Brüder Sein (1981). He coedited Civil Resistance and Power Politics: The Experience of Non-Violent Action from Gandhi to the Present (2009).

Garton Ash is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the Royal Historical Society, and the Royal Society of Arts and has received numerous honors and awards, including the Somerset Maugham Award, the George Orwell Prize, the Order of Merit from Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic, and honorary doctorates from St. Andrew's University and the Catholic University of Leuven. In 2017 he was awarded the prestigious International Charlemagne Prize of the City of Aachen.

He writes a regular column in the Guardian, which is widely syndicated in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. He is a regular contributor to other periodicals, including the Financial Times.

Garton Ash, who holds a BA and MA in modern history from the University of Oxford, did graduate studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, at the Free University in West Berlin, and at Humboldt University in East Berlin.

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H.R. McMaster

Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow

H.R. McMaster is the Fouad and Michelle Ajami Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. He is also the Bernard and Susan Liautaud Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute and lecturer at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. 

Upon graduation from the US Military Academy in 1984, McMaster served as a commissioned officer in the US Army for thirty-four years.  He retired as a lieutenant general in June 2018 after serving as the twenty-fifth assistant to the US president for the Department of National Security Affairs. From 2014 to 2017, McMaster designed the future army as the director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and the deputy commanding general, futures, of the US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC). As commanding general of the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, he oversaw all training and education for the army’s infantry, armor, and cavalry force. He has commanded organizations in wartime including the Combined Joint Inter-Agency Task Force—Shafafiyat in Kabul, Afghanistan, from 2010 to 2012; the Third Armored Cavalry Regiment in Iraq from 2005 to 2006; and Eagle Troop, Second Armored Cavalry Regiment in Operation Desert Storm from 1990 to 1991. McMaster also served overseas as advisor to the most senior commanders in the Middle East, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

McMaster holds a PhD in military history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He was an assistant professor of history at the US Military Academy. He is author of the bestselling books Battlegrounds: The Fight to Defend the Free World and Dereliction of Duty: Lyndon Johnson, Robert McNamara, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Lies that Led to Vietnam. His many essays, articles, and book reviews on leadership, history, and the future of warfare have appeared in The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, National Review, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, and the New York Times.

McMaster is the host of Battlegrounds: International Perspectives on Crucial Challenges and Opportunities and is a regular on GoodFellows, both produced by the Hoover Institution. He is a Distinguished University Fellow at Arizona State University.

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Norman M. Naimark

Senior Fellow (courtesy)

Norman M. Naimark is a senior fellow (courtesy) at the Hoover Institution. He is also the Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of East European Studies and a senior fellow of Stanford's Freeman-Spogli Institute.

Naimark is an expert in modern East European and Russian history. His current research focuses on Soviet policies and actions in Europe after World War II and on genocide and ethnic cleansing in the twentieth century.

Naimark is the author of the critically acclaimed volumes The Russians in Germany: The History of the Soviet Zone of Occupation, 1945–1949 (Harvard, 1995), Fires of Hatred: Ethnic Cleansing In 20th Century Europe (Harvard, 2001), and Stalin's Genocides (Princeton, 2010). He is also the author of the volumes Terrorists and Social Democrats: The Russian Revolutionary Movement under Alexander III (Harvard, 1983) and The History of the "Proletariat": The Emergence of Marxism in the Kingdom of Poland, 1870–1887 (Columbia, 1979). In his recent book, Genocide: A World History (Oxford University Press, 2016), Naimark examines the main episodes in the history of genocide from the beginning of human history to the present.

Naimark has edited and coedited a dozen books and document collections on the Soviet takeover of Eastern Europe, Soviet nationality problems, interpretations of Soviet history, Operation "Barbarossa," the Soviet occupation of Germany, the Soviet occupation of Austria, the wars in former Yugoslavia, the Armenian genocide, and Soviet Politburo protocols.

He is or has been a member of editorial boards of a number of major professional journals in this country and abroad, including the American Historical Review, the Journal of Contemporary History, the Journal of Cold War Studies, Jahrbuch Fuer Historische Kommunismusforschung, Kritika, the Journal of Modern European History, and East European Politics and Societies.

Naimark was former president and board member of the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. He served for many years on the Visiting Committee of the Davis Center for Russian Studies at Harvard and was former chair of the Joint Committee on Eastern Europe of the American Council of Learned Societies and Social Science Research Council. He served on the academic advisory board of the Center for Contemporary History Studies in Potsdam, Germany, and presently serves on the academic board of the “Vertreibung” Museum in Berlin. He is recipient of the Officers Cross of the Order of Merit from the Federal Republic of Germany. Most recently, he was elected as a foreign corresponding member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences.

At Stanford, Naimark served two terms on the Academic Senate, as well as on its Steering Committee. Also, he was chair of the Department of History, director of the Center for Russian and East European Studies, and director of the International Relations and International Policy Studies Programs. In 1995, he was awarded the Richard W. Lyman Award (for outstanding faculty volunteer service). He twice was recipient of the Dean's Award for Distinguished Teaching (1991–92, 2002–3).

Naimark earned a BA (1966), MA (1968), and PhD (1972) in history from Stanford University. Before returning to Stanford in 1988, Naimark was a professor of history at Boston University and a fellow at the Russian Research Center at Harvard. He also held the visiting Kathryn Wasserman Davis Chair of Slavic Studies at Wellesley College.

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Anna Grzymala-Busse

Senior Fellow (courtesy)

Anna Grzymala-Busse is a senior fellow (courtesy) at the Hoover Institution. 

Grzymala-Busse is the Michelle and Kevin Douglas Professor in the Department of Political Science, the director of the Europe Center, and a senior fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute at Stanford. Her research focuses on religion and politics, authoritarian political parties and their successors, and the historical development of the state. She is the author of three books: Redeeming the Communist Past: The Regeneration of Communist Successor Parties; Rebuilding Leviathan: Party Competition and State Development in Post-Communist Europe; and Nations Under God: How Churches Use Moral Authority to Influence Politics. She is the recipient of the Carnegie and Guggenheim Fellowships. 

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Cole Bunzel

Hoover Fellow

Cole M. Bunzel is a fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University. A historian and Arabist, he studies the history and contemporary affairs of the Islamic Middle East, with a particular focus on violent Islamism and the Arabian Peninsula. He is the editor of the blog Jihadica and has written widely on the ideology of Sunni jihadism, including such monographs as From Paper State to Caliphate: The Ideology of the Islamic State (Brookings Institution, 2015), The Kingdom and the Caliphate: Duel of the Islamic States (Carnegie Endowment, 2016), and Jihadism on Its Own Terms: Understanding a Movement (Hoover Institution, 2017). His current book project, which draws on an array of rare manuscripts and other primary sources in Arabic, provides a new account of the history and doctrine of Wahhabism, the puritanical Islamic revivalist movement that arose in central Arabia in the 18th century.

Bunzel received his MA in international relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and his BA and PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. At Princeton he received the Porter Ogden Jacobus Fellowship, the university’s top honor for graduate students, as well as the Bayard and Cleveland Dodge Memorial Dissertation Prize for best PhD dissertation in Near Eastern Studies. He has been a research fellow in Islamic law and civilization at the Yale Law School, and is a nonresident fellow at the George Washington University Program on Extremism.

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