Bob was born in Worcestershire of an American father and English mother in June 1917. The year seems significant in retrospect, for, like many of his peers, he started his adult life as an ardent Communist only to become one of its most articulate scourges. His magisterial book about Stalin’s infamous tyranny, The Great Terror, was published in 1968 to snivels of opprobrium from the bien pensant left-wing establishment, who complained that he had wildly exaggerated the death toll of Stalin’s effort to bring about utopia. When the Soviet archives were finally opened after the fall of the Soviet Union, it turned out he had actually underestimated the butcher’s bill.There was good reason for President Reagan to refer to the old USSR as an evil empire. And, younger academics, there are still plenty of commonplaces to question, and the bien pensant snivelers are weaker now than they were in 1968.
QUESTION THE COMMONPLACES.
Roger Kimball remembers Robert Conquest.