Robert Conquest

Research Fellow
Biography: 

Robert Conquest passed away on August 3, 2015. He was a research fellow at the Hoover Institution.

His awards and honors include the Jefferson Lectureship, the highest honor bestowed by the federal government for achievement in the humanities (1993), the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2005), the Dan David Prize (2012), Poland's Commander's Cross of the Order of Merit (2009), Estonia's Cross of Terra Mariana (2008), and the Ukrainian Order of Yaroslav Mudryi (2005).

He was the author of twenty-one books on Soviet history, politics, and international affairs, including the classic The Great Terror—which has been translated into twenty languages—and the acclaimed Harvest of Sorrow (1986). His most recent works are Reflections on a Ravaged Century (1999) and The Dragons of Expectation (2005).

Conquest has been literary editor of the London Spectator, brought out eight volumes of poetry and one of literary criticism, edited the seminal New Lines anthologies (1955–63), and published a verse translation of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn's epic Prussian Nights (1977). He has also published a science fiction novel, A World of Difference (1955), and is joint author, with Kingsley Amis, of another novel, The Egyptologists (1965). In 1997 he received the American Academy of Arts and Letters' Michael Braude Award for Light Verse.

He was a fellow of the British Academy, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Royal Society of Literature, and the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies. He has been 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 at Harvard University's Ukrainian Research Institute.

Educated at Winchester College and the University of Grenoble, he was an exhibitioner in modern history at Magdalen College, Oxford, receiving his BA and MA in politics, philosophy, and economics and his DLitt in history.

Conquest served in the British infantry in World War II and thereafter in His Majesty's Diplomatic Service; he was awarded the Order of the British Empire. In 1996 he was named a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.

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Recent Commentary

The Nasty Mood in Russia

by Robert Conquestvia Hoover Digest
Monday, July 30, 2001

Why the Cold War is still with us. By Hoover fellow Robert Conquest.

Analysis and Commentary

Out of the Ice Age?

by Robert Conquestvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, March 12, 2001

The cold war’s effects are very much with us in two major spheres.

Why Britain Should Say No

by Robert Conquestvia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 30, 2000

There is not a single convincing argument why Britain should join the European Union—not one. But there are plenty of reasons why Britain shouldn't. By Hoover fellow Robert Conquest.

THE BATTLE FOR BRITAIN: Britain and the European Union

with Robert Conquest, Tony Baldryvia Uncommon Knowledge
Monday, August 21, 2000

Should Britain continue on the path towards political and economic integration within the European Union? Many in Britain are skeptical of the benefits of political unification with continental Europe. What does Britain stand to gain or lose by ceding sovereignty to the European Union? Would Britain’s interests be better served by strengthening its special relationship with the United States?

Further Reflections on a Ravaged Century

by Karl Zinsmeister, Robert Conquestvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, April 30, 2000

As one of the world’s foremost historians of Soviet communism, Hoover fellow Robert Conquest knows all about the dangers of government centralization. After the publication of his latest book, Reflections on a Ravaged Century, he sat down with Karl Zinsmeister to discuss the dangerous impulse toward centralization, which, Conquest reminds us, is still alive and well.

The Specter Haunting Russia

by Robert Conquestvia Hoover Digest
Sunday, April 30, 2000

Hoover fellow Robert Conquest explains why Russia’s past, present, and future remain dangerously intertwined. “The collapse of communism has left a heritage of ruin.”

THE RAVAGED CENTURY: A Look Back at the Twentieth Century

with Robert Conquestvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, March 28, 2000

For much of the one hundred years just past, the forces of freedom and democracy found themselves at war with two books, Das Kapital, by Karl Marx which, of course, gave rise to communism. Mein Kampf, by Adolph Hitler which gave rise to Nazism. Nazism and communism, how is it that these two totalitarian ideologies gained such a hold on tens of millions of people. If you had to decide the matter as a historical question, which one, Nazism or communism, did more damage to the fabric of our civilization?

Analysis and Commentary

Global Perils in Perspective

by Robert Conquestvia Hoover Daily Report
Monday, March 6, 2000

Revolution, in the extreme twentieth-century sense of the seizure of power by a fanatical ideological group, has largely faded.

The Cold War over CNN’s Cold War

by Richard Pipes, Robert Conquest, John Lewis Gaddisvia Hoover Digest
Saturday, October 30, 1999

Earlier this year, CNN broadcast a twenty-four-hour television documentary on the Cold War, supplementing the documentary by publishing a companion book. The series created a furor. Critics charged that the series was inaccurate and—to use a phrase from the Cold War itself—soft on communism.

Herewith a debate among three historians. Richard Pipes explains what the television documentary got wrong. Hoover fellow Robert Conquest takes apart the companion book. Then John Lewis Gaddis, who served as an adviser to CNN, explains what CNN got right.

How Liberals Funked It

by Robert Conquestvia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 30, 1999

Liberals spent the Cold War refusing to see communism for what it was. Hoover fellow Robert Conquest on “how the mind of the liberal became so much a subject of self-deception.”

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