It is hardly surprising, therefore, that Conquest’s passing elicited a copious amount of eulogy in the capitalist press. The man was hailed as a virtual titan of historiography by the doctrinal gatekeepers, a brave intellectual fighting the good fight against the supposedly horrid and ubiquitous forces of evil communist propaganda.(1) This near unanimity of praise would immediately tip off any genuine anti-imperialist. Except, of course any savvy anti-imperialist would have long ago identified Robert Conquest for what he was—a very prolific imperialist shill, an Energizer Bunny serving the imperialists.
Which brings me now to the matter of Conquest’s true methodology, about which, separate from his anticommunist bias, I also have strong reservations. Have you checked all the source footnotes of Conquest and Snyder? Grover Furr has. What Dr. Furr has found is very revealing.
Daniel P. Wirt
Daniel Wirt is a pathologist practicing near Houston, Texas, who considers the advanced stage of capitalism in which we live to be the ultimate public health issue — the proximate cause of the rapid destruction of the biosphere and the epidemic plague of fascism afflicting humans (including the many “glad tidings of liberal fascism”, per Norman Pollack). He believes that a multipolar world is necessary for more equitable sharing of resources and more peaceful relationships among human populations.
(1) Birds of a feather fly together—don’t they?
Hardcore “conservatives” lament the passing of Conquest.
The material below, excerpted from various rightwing sources, with a longstanding trajectory of whitewashing and support for US imperialism’s clients and adventures, and rancid anticommunism, clearly indicates that Robert Conquest was their man, an honored member of the tribe. National Review, for example, Bill Buckley’s pretentious rag, applauds the fact Conquest was “an advisor” to Margaret Thatcher and Reagan, two of the past century’s most malevolent actors from the perspective of real peace and the advance of ordinary people’s fortunes. The eulogies are so wide of the mark, so unrepentantly florid, like calling Reagan, Suharto and Pinochet tribunes of the people, that you may certainly indulge a belly laugh. But that’s the upside-down world that the rightwing/establishment media would like us to accept.
NATIONAL REVIEW | John O’Sullivan August 14, 2015
What to Make of the Guardian’s Shameful Robert Conquest Obituary?
So I wasn’t surprised when Conquest died and obituaries, tributes, and reflections on his work and life began to flood the Internet…Conquest was the single most important historian of the Soviet Union and its crimes while also being eminent in other fields, notably literature and criticism, and not least an influential adviser to Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan at a key turning point in the Cold War.
Most of the obituaries for Bob were in fact very good — focusing on the most important aspects of his historical work (namely, The Great Terror on Stalin’s purges and The Harvest of Sorrow on Stalin’s forced Ukrainian famine) while giving the general impression of a life devoted to truth and crowned by honors, reputation, a happy marriage, and a contented private and professional life. That was the admiring message from the obituaries in the London Daily Telegraph, the BBC, the Independent, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and most major media. The “Murdoch press” was particularly generous, with strong, comprehensive, and well-written obituaries in the Wall Street Journal and the Australian, and an obituary, an editorial, and a feature (all well done) in the London Times. Admiration for Bob’s achievements also spanned a very wide range of opinions outside the major media, uniting for instance the Catholic Church (in the form of Commonweal magazine, which especially enjoyed his limericks) and the National Secular Society (which regretted that he would not be around to subject radical Islamism to the same meticulous examination that had undermined the claims of Soviet communism — in fact the NSS can find that in We and They.)
For more blather from NR on this topic, please see this: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/422574/robert-conquest-guardian-obituary
The Telegraph (UK) 4 August 2015
Robert Conquest, historian – obituary
Historian who played a leading role in stiffening western resolve in the Cold War by chronicling the horrors of Soviet communism
In the 1970s Conquest was invited to meet the opposition leader Margaret Thatcher to discuss the Soviet threat. According to her authorised biographer Charles Moore, Mrs Thatcher was advised that Conquest liked plenty to drink, so she laid in supplies of champagne. The meeting began at 9.30 am and they were still talking at noon.
In June 1978 Mrs Thatcher drew heavily on an advance manuscript of one of Conquest’s books, Present Danger (1979), for a major speech on foreign policy she made in Brussels. The theme of the book (and the speech) was, in Conquest’s words, “there’s nothing the Russians can do so long as we keep the level of our arms right,” and he dedicated the work to Mrs Thatcher…
For more blather from The Telegraph on this topic, go here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/11782719/Robert-Conquest-historian-obituary.html
The Wall Street Journal | By BRENDA CRONIN and ALAN CULLISON (Murdoch press) | Aug. 4, 2015
Robert Conquest, Seminal Historian of Soviet Misrule, Dies at 98
Anglo-American historian and poet who chronicled Stalin’s excesses dies in Palo Alto, Calif.Robert Conquest, an Anglo-American historian whose works on the terror and privation under Joseph Stalin made him the pre-eminent Western chronicler of the horrors of Soviet rule, died Monday in Palo Alto, Calif. He was 98 years old.
Mr. Conquest’s master work, “The Great Terror,” was the first detailed account of the Stalinist purges from 1937 to 1939. He estimated that under Stalin, 20 million people perished from famines, Soviet labor camps and executions—a toll that eclipsed that of the Holocaust. Writing at the height of the Cold War in 1968, when sources about the Soviet Union were scarce, Mr. Conquest was vilified by leftists who said he exaggerated the number of victims. When the Cold War ended and archives in Moscow were thrown open, his estimates proved high but more accurate than those of his critics.
Mr. Conquest also was a much-decorated writer of light verse and a figure in the “Movement” poetry of 1950s England. He continued to publish into his 90s, applying an unyielding zest to poetry and prose alike.
Born in Malvern, Worcestershire, to a British mother and an American father, he served in World War II and then in Britain’s diplomatic corps before a series of stints at think tanks and universities, largely in the U.S. In recent decades he was affiliated with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, moving to emeritus status in 2007.
While a spirited combatant in academic debate, Mr. Conquest wrote for a wider audience. “The Great Terror” reached millions of readers and won him a following among leaders including Ronald Reagan. Margaret Thatcher consulted Mr. Conquest on how to deal with the Soviet Union and her former advisers said she trusted him more than any other Soviet expert.
Mr. Conquest gleefully attacked Western revisionist historians as dupes for Stalin. The 1937-1939 Stalinist show trials, in which Stalin’s political rivals all admitted to serious crimes and were shot, shocked many left-leaning intellectuals in the West. The lurid trials set off mass defections from Communist parties in Europe and the U.S. and helped inspire anti-Communist tracts such as George Orwell’s “1984” and Arthur Koestler’s “Darkness at Noon.”
But the wider slaughter of Soviet citizens had largely gone undocumented until Mr. Conquest’s narrative. Citing sources made public during the thaw under Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev as well as émigré accounts, the Soviet census and snippets of information in the Soviet press, Mr. Conquest portrayed the trials as a mere sideshow to the systematic murder carried out by the Kremlin, which routinely ordered regional quotas for thousands of arbitrary arrests and shootings at burial pits and execution cellars. The latest data show that during a 16-month stretch in 1937 and 1938, more than 800,000 people were shot by the Soviet secret police.
These executions came on top of millions of earlier deaths amid the forced famines and collectivization of Soviet agriculture, which Mr. Conquest detailed in a later book, “The Harvest of Sorrow: Soviet Collectivization and the Terror-Famine.” Mr. Conquest wrote that Stalin summarily executed millions of people by cutting off food to entire regions, particularly Ukraine.
If you trust the Murdoch press, love Fox News, then read more of this tendentious blather here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/robert-conquest-seminal-historian-of-soviet-misrule-dies-at-98-1438714647
The New York Times |
Robert Conquest, Historian Who Documented Soviet Horrors, Dies at 98
Robert Conquest, a historian whose landmark studies of the Stalinist purges and the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s documented the horrors perpetrated by the Soviet regime against its own citizens, died on Monday in Stanford, Calif. He was 98.
His wife, the former Elizabeth Neece, said the cause was pneumonia.
Mr. Conquest, a poet and science-fiction buff, turned to the study of the Soviet Union in the mid-1950s out of dissatisfaction with the quality of analysis he saw at the British Foreign Office, where he worked after World War II in the Information Research Department, a semi-secret office responsible for combating Soviet propaganda.
“The ambassadors varied between people who were interested in politics and people who were interested in music,” he told The Guardian in 2003. “I wanted to study the evolutions at the top in Soviet Russia.”
As one of the Movement poets of the 1950s, a group that included Kingsley Amis, Philip Larkin and Thom Gunn, Mr. Conquest embarked on a research fellowship at the London School of Economics and produced “Power and Politics in the USSR” (1960), a book that established him as a leading Kremlinologist.
Eight years later, during the Prague Spring, he published “The Great Terror: Stalin’s Purge of the Thirties,” a chronicle of Stalin’s merciless campaign against political opponents, intellectuals, military officers — anyone who could be branded an “enemy of the people.”
For the first time, facts and incidents scattered in myriad sources were gathered in a gripping narrative. Its impact would not be matched until the publication of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago” in 1973.
The scope of Stalin’s purges was laid out: seven million people arrested in the peak years, 1937 and 1938; one million executed; two million dead in the concentration camps. Mr. Conquest estimated the death toll for the Stalin era at no less than 20 million…<•>
Want more of this blather by the Grey Lady? Just go here: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/05/arts/international/robert-conquest-historian-who-documented-soviet-horrors-dies-at-98.html?_r=0
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