Robert Conquest is a senior research fellow and scholar-curator of the Russian and Commonwealth of Independent States Collection at the Hoover Institution.
His awards and honors include the Jefferson Lectureship in the Humanities, the federal government’s highest distinction in the field, in 1993; the Richard Weaver Award for Scholary Letters in 1999; and the Alexis de Tocqueville Award, 1992.
His major scholarly concern has been with the nature of and relations between despotic and consensual cultures.
He is the author of seventeen books on Soviet history, politics, and international affairs, including the classic The Great Terror (Macmillan, 1968). Translations have appeared in more than twenty languages, including Russian. Other works include the acclaimed Harvest of Sorrow (Oxford University Press, 1986), which has also appeared in many translations.
Later books are Stalin and the Kirov Murder (Oxford University Press, 1988); Tyrants and Typewriters (Lexington Books, 1989); The Great Terror: A Reassessment (Oxford University Press, 1990); and Stalin: Breaker of Nations (Viking, 1991). His most recent book, Reflections on a Ravaged Century (W.W. Norton & Company, 1999), analyzes the disasters of our time and looks at prospects before us.
Conquest has been literary editor of the London Spectator and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He has brought out six volumes of poetry and one of literary criticism, edited the seminal New Lines anthologies (Macmillan, 1955–63), and published a verse translation of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s epic Prussian Nights (Harvill Press, 1977). He has also published a science fiction novel and is joint author, with Kingsley Amis, of another novel. He received the American Academy of Arts and Letters 1997 Award for light verse.
Conquest is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a fellow of the British Academy, an adjunct fellow of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., and a research associate of Harvard University’s Ukrainian Research Institute. He is a member of the board of the Institute for European Defense and Strategic Studies.
He is a fellow of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies and the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies.
He has been a research fellow at the London School of Economics, fellow of the Columbia University Russian Institute, fellow of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and distinguished visiting scholar at the Heritage Foundation. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, and other journals.
He served through World War II in the British infantry and thereafter in His Majesty’s Diplomatic Service, being awarded the Order of the British Empire. In 1996 he was named a Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George.
Conquest was educated at Winchester College, the University of Grenoble, and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was an exhibitioner in modern history and took his B.A. and M.A. in politics, philosophy, and economics and his D. Litt. in Soviet history.