Stephen Kotkin

Senior Fellow / National Fellow 2010–11
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Biography: 

Stephen Kotkin, in addition to being a Hoover senior fellow, is the Birkelund Professor of History and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School and History Department of Princeton University, where he has taught since 1989.  He received his PhD at UC Berkeley during the years Reagan was president.  He has been conducting research in the Hoover Library and Archives for three decades.  He founded and runs Princeton’s Global History Initiative.

Kotkin’s research encompasses geopolitics and authoritarian regimes in history and in the present.  His publications include Stalin: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941 (Penguin, October 2017), Stalin, Vol. I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878-1928 (Penguin, November 2014), part of a three-volume history of Russian power in the world and of Stalin’s power in Russia. The first volume has been called "superb" (Wall Street Journal); "riveting" (New York Times); "magisterial" (American Scholar); "masterful" (Literary Review); "near definitive" (New Yorker);  "exceptionally ambitious" (Atlantic); "exciting" (Reason); and "judicious" (First Things).  He has also written a history of the Stalin system’s rise from an in-depth street-level perspective, Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization (University of California, 1995). With the Berlin Wall collapsing two months into his first course at Princeton, Kotkin has written a trilogy analyzing communism’s demise.  Two volumes have appeared thus far: Armageddon Averted: The Soviet Collapse 1970–2000 (Oxford, 2001; revised edition 2008) and Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment, with a contribution by Jan T. Gross (Modern Library, 2009).  A third, on the Soviet Union in the third world and Afghanistan, is in manuscript.

Although he has never served in government, Kotkin has participated in numerous National Intelligence Council events over the years.  He served as the lead book reviewer for the New York Times Sunday Business Section (2006–9), and has published a large number of reviews and essays in the New Republic, Foreign Affairs, Financial Times, Times Literary Supplement, and New Yorker, among other venues.  He has been a Hoover National Fellow, an American Council of Learned Societies Fellow, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow, and a Guggenheim Fellow.

 

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Interviews

Stephen Kotkin: Globalisation’s Second Death And The ‘Weirding’ Of Investment Risk

interview with Stephen Kotkinvia Investment Magazine
Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Hoover Institution fellow Stephen Kotkin talks about how the disintegration of globalization is a path the world has walked down before and while there are lessons we can learn from history.

In the News

Princeton's Kotkin Sees Danger Ahead For Policymakers

featuring Stephen Kotkinvia Investment Magazine
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Stephen Kotkin said "there is no such thing as after COVID." Princeton historian Stephen Kotkin said governments were approaching a “dangerous ...

In the News

What Is The Virus World Order?

featuring Stephen Kotkinvia Top 1000 Funds
Tuesday, May 26, 2020

China is winning, American leadership is a deadly shambles. Then, China’s early failures, lies, and finger pointing have provoked a fierce global backlash, while America’s governors and laboratories inspire hope. Autocracies are the winners, democracies the losers. However, democracies are using their advantages, and autocracies have flopped. Singapore showcased its superior governance model; Singapore inflicted upon itself a second wave outbreak (by ignoring its essential migrant labor force).

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Stephen Kotkin: Princeton Historian: America Can Beat Coronavirus If We Don't 'Defeat Ourselves

interview with Stephen Kotkinvia Fox News
Thursday, April 9, 2020

[Subscription Required] Hoover Institution fellow Stephen Kotkin says history teaches that the United States can triumph over the coronavirus pandemic if America doesn't "defeat ourselves."

Trump, China, And The Geopolitics Of A Crisis

interview with Stephen Kotkinvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, April 7, 2020

TRANSCRIPT ONLY

Peter Robinson and Stephen Kotkin discuss Trump’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, Kotkin’s thoughts on the Chinese leadership class and the advantages they may seek to exploit, and which country—China or the United States—will come to represent the more successful or compelling model to other nations.

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Trump, China, and the Geopolitics of a Crisis

interview with Stephen Kotkinvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, April 7, 2020

AUDIO ONLY

Peter Robinson and Stephen Kotkin discuss Trump’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, Kotkin’s thoughts on the Chinese leadership class and the advantages they may seek to exploit, and which country—China or the United States—will come to represent the more successful or compelling model to other nations.

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Trump, China, And The Geopolitics Of A Crisis

interview with Stephen Kotkinvia Uncommon Knowledge
Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Peter Robinson and Stephen Kotkin discuss Trump’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, Kotkin’s thoughts on the Chinese leadership class and the advantages they may seek to exploit, and which country—China or the United States—will come to represent the more successful or compelling model to other nations.

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Legacies of the “Big Three”

by Peter M. Robinson interview with David M. Kennedy, Andrew Roberts, Stephen Kotkinvia Hoover Digest
Monday, January 20, 2020

Not quite three-quarters of a century ago, the grand alliance of the United States, the British empire, and the Soviet Union defeated Nazi Germany and imperial Japan. Three big historians, David Kennedy, Andrew Roberts, and Stephen Kotkin, on Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin.

The 30th Anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall
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The 30th Anniversary Of The Fall Of The Berlin Wall

featuring Peter M. Robinson, Condoleezza Rice, Stephen Kotkin, David Holloway, Timothy Garton Ash, Norman M. Naimark, Niall Ferguson, Robert Service, Victor Davis Hanson, Michael McFaul, Amir Weinervia Hoover Daily Report
Thursday, November 14, 2019

Hoover Institution fellow Peter Robinson as well as many scholars and historians review the history of the Berlin Wall.

In the News

America, China And Donald Trump

featuring Stephen Kotkinvia Top 1000 Funds
Thursday, October 10, 2019

As trade wars between the US and China dominate financial markets, Princeton historian Stephen Kotkin has assured pension funds that the world order that has been in place since World War II remains intact.

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