Monday, August 10, 2015

How Robert Conquest’s History Book Made History

George Will  

1 SHAHistory books can be historic events, making history by ending important arguments. They can make it impossible for any intellectually honest person to assert certain propositions that once enjoyed considerable currency among people purporting to care about evidence.  The author of one such book, Robert Conquest, an Englishman who spent many years at Stanford’s Hoover Institution, has died at 98, having outlived the Soviet Union that he helped to kill with information. Historian, poet, journalist, and indefatigable controversialist, Conquest was born when Soviet Russia was, in 1917, and in early adulthood he was a Communist. Then, combining a convert’s zeal and a scholar’s meticulousness, he demolished the doctrine that the Soviet regime was a recognizable variant of the European experience and destined to “convergence” toward Western norms......... In 1968, Conquest’s mountain of evidence of the diabolical dynamics of the Soviet regime disquieted those, and they were legion, who suggested a moral equivalence between the main adversaries in the Cold War, which, they argued, had been precipitated by U.S. actions.  In 1986, Conquest published The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine, his unsparing account of the deliberate starvation of Ukraine in 1932 and 1933, which killed, at a minimum, 7 million people, more than half of them children. At one point, more Ukrainians were dying each day than Jews were to be murdered at Auschwitz at the peak of extermination in the spring of 1944......To Read More.....

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