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Mark Edele

Mark Edele

Mark Edele is the inaugural Hansen Chair in History at the University of Melbourne. An Australian Research Council Future Fellow (2015–19), he is the author of Soviet Veterans of the Second World War (2008), Stalinist Society (2011), and Stalin’s Defectors: How Red Army soldiers became Hitler’s collaborators (2017). Shelter from the Holocaust: Rethinking Jewish survival in the Soviet Union, edited with Sheila Fitzpatrick and Atina Grossmann, will be published later this year, and Red Empire: A Short History of the Soviet Union in 2018.

Mark Edele reviews 'Cold War Exiles and the CIA: Plotting to free Russia' by Benjamin Tromly

March 2020, no. 419 24 February 2020
Ivan Vasilevich Ovchinnikov defected to the Soviet Union in 1958. After three years in West Germany, he had had enough of the West with its hollow promises. He was a farmer’s son, and his family’s property had been confiscated and the family deported as ‘kulaks’ during Stalin’s assault on the Russian village in the early 1930s. Ovchinnikov managed to escape the often deadly exile, obscur ... (read more)

'Why should you care about the Russian Revolution?' by Mark Edele

October 2017, no. 395 21 September 2017
‘What about Lenin do you admire most?’ Catherine Merridale, author of Lenin on the Train (2016), answered as most historians would: ‘I can’t think of anything much to admire.’  That this question could be asked at all in 2017 shows that the Russian Revolution continues to fascinate. Such continuities with the mental world of the Cold War are no speciality of the political left, but the ... (read more)

Mark Edele reviews 'Stalin and the Scientists: A History of triumph and tragedy 1905–1953' by Simon Ings

April 2017, no. 390 29 March 2017
The relationship between science and power is central to many struggles of the present. Politics impinges on science when funding is allocated to ‘applied’ or ‘fundamental’ research, when decisions are reached about what should be taught in schools, when governments determine if people can be forced to vaccinate their children, what kinds of interventions into reproduction are allowable, o ... (read more)

Mark Edele reviews 'The Romanovs: 1613-1918' by Simon Sebag Montefiore

September 2016, no. 384 22 August 2016
The history of (not so) great men and women, their lovers, wars, and marriages is back. After social historians from the 1970s reduced kings and queens to 'clowns in regal purple', beholden to impersonal social forces 'from below'; after cultural historians from the 1980s onwards elevated 'culture' and 'discourse' instead to movers of history – today the follies, achievements, and crimes of thos ... (read more)

Mark Edele reviews 'The Conflict in Ukraine: What everyone needs to know' by Serhy Yekelchyk

May 2016, no. 381 27 April 2016
For more than a year and a half the armed conflict in Ukraine has touched many in Australia. On 17 July 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 crashed in the war zone after being hit by a surface-to-air missile. There was a short burst of jubilation by pro-Russian rebels on social media, before it became clear that this was not a military machine but a civilian airliner. All 283 passengers and fifteen ... (read more)

Mark Edele reviews 'On Stalin's Team' by Sheila Fitzpatrick

April 2016, no. 380 24 March 2016
I first encountered Sheila Fitzpatrick's work in the mid-1990s. The 1986–87 controversy in The Russian Review about how to write a social history of Stalinism was taught as a milestone in the historiography of my field. Instinctively, I took sides against my professors and with Fitzpatrick's call to remove the state from the centre of analysis, a methodological tactic informing much of what I ha ... (read more)

Mark Edele reviews 'Stalin, Volume I' by Stephen Kotkin and 'Stalin' by Oleg V. Khlevniuk

November 2015, no. 376 26 October 2015
How dissimilar two books on the same topic can be: one expansive and apparently unconstrained by word limits, the other constrained and economical; one following a simple chronological narrative, the other an admirable adaptation of literary techniques of multi-layered story telling. Both are political books, but the politics are as different as the personalities of the authors. Stephen Kotkin is ... (read more)