Bertrand M. Patenaude

Research Fellow

Bertrand M. Patenaude is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is also a lecturer in history and international relations at Stanford University. His most recent book is Defining Moments, published by the Hoover Institution Press in 2019. He is also the author of Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary, published by HarperCollins in 2009, and A Wealth of Ideas: Revelations from the Hoover Institution Archives (Stanford University Press, 2006), a richly illustrated coffee-table book that showcases the Hoover Archives’ extraordinary collections, which span the entire twentieth century. His first book, The Big Show in Bololand: The American Relief Expedition to Soviet Russia in the Famine of 1921 (Stanford University Press, 2002) won the 2003 Marshall Shulman Book Prize and is the basis for a forthcoming documentary film produced for the award-winning PBS series American Experience.

He has also edited several books, including, with Terence Emmons, War, Revolution, and Peace in Russia: The Passages of Frank Golder, 1914–1927 (Hoover Institution Press, 1992); The Russian Revolution (Garland, 1992); Stalin and Stalinism (Garland, 1992); and Soviet Scholarship under Gorbachev (Center for Russian and East European Studies, Stanford, 1988).

Among his important discoveries in the Hoover Archives is a 1922 Russian-language book manuscript by the Moscow economist Lev Litoshenko. That manuscript, unidentified for decades, turned out to be a first-rate study of Bolshevik agrarian policies during the early years of Soviet power, with special emphasis on the utopian civil war policies known as War Communism. After determining the manuscript's authorship, Patenaude’s subsequent efforts led to its publication in Russia as Sotsializatsiia zemli v Rossii [Socialization of the Land in Russia] (Novosibirsk: Sibirskii khronograf, 2001), which Patenaude edited, together with a team of his Russian colleagues.

Patenaude taught for eight years (1992–2000) in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where his outstanding performance as a classroom instructor was recognized with the Schieffelin Award for Teaching Excellence for two consecutive years, 1998 and 1999. His book reviews regularly appear in the Wall Street Journal. He was educated at Boston College and the University of Vienna and received his PhD in history from Stanford.

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Recent Commentary

Three barefoot men face

Shooting the Bolsheviks

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Friday, April 6, 2012

Amid the ruins of the Great War, an American camera crew filmed a shocking sight. That roll of celluloid has taken a strange trip through history. By Bertrand M. Patenaude.

Quantum Leaps to Hiroshima

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 2, 2010

Glimpses into the world of the celebrated thinkers who brought the atomic age to life. By Bertrand M. Patenaude.

Analysis and Commentary

The Road to the Stationmaster's House

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Wall Street Journal
Friday, July 2, 2010

Revisiting the chaos at the 'War and Peace' author's death and focusing anew on his devoted, tormented wife...

Trotsky in Exile

Trotsky in Exile

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rare images of the aging revolutionary in his walled refuge, as his life ticked down. By Bertrand M. Patenaude.

Analysis and Commentary

Wandering, Waiting

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

In European cities before the revolution: polemics, squabbles and 'sexuality.' . . .

Former president Theodore Roosevelt and Kaiser Wilhelm II

War and Peace: Clash of the Nobels

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Friday, October 9, 2009

The controversy over President Obama’s peace award is nothing new. The history of the prize has been anything but peaceful. By Bertrand M. Patenaude.

Analysis and Commentary

A Red Army Memoir of World War II

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Wall Street Journal
Saturday, June 30, 2007

It is June 1944, and the Red Army is pressing its offensive against the German Wehrmacht in the Soviet Republic of Belarus, roughly 200 miles east of what is now the Polish border....

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Food as a Weapon

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Herbert Hoover fed not only the citizens of Belgium but also, in the hope that they would throw off the Bolsheviks, the citizens of Soviet Russia. Bertrand M. Patenaude has another remarkable story.

Analysis and Commentary

The Genocide Trap

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Daily Report
Wednesday, September 7, 2005

The evil in question was the widespread atrocities that are still under way in western Sudan, including the deaths of hundreds of thousands of civilians, along with rape, torture, kidnapping, pillaging, and the forced displacement of millions.

The Big Show in Bololand

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, October 30, 2002

In 1921, Herbert Hoover’s American Relief Administration staged a campaign to battle a devastating famine in Soviet Russia. Hoover fellow Bertrand M. Patenaude examines a little-known chapter in the history of American-Soviet relations.