Barbara Keys

Barbara Keys

Barbara Keys is Associate Professor of History at the University of Melbourne and the author of Reclaiming American Virtue: The human rights revolution of the 1970s (2014).

Barbara Keys reviews 'Gorbachev: His life and times' by William Taubman

April 2018, no. 400 26 March 2018
Barbara Keys reviews 'Gorbachev: His life and times' by William Taubman
‘Heroes, hero worship, and the heroic in history’: so did one observer describe the essence of Edmund Wilson’s To the Finland Station (1940). A series of portraits of ‘great men’, the book culminates with Lenin’s arrival on a German train at Petrograd’s Finland Station in April 1917, shortly after the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II. In six months, Lenin – against all odds, by dint o ... (read more)

Barbara Keys reviews 'Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics' by Lawrence O’Donnell

March 2018, no. 399 21 February 2018
Barbara Keys reviews 'Playing with Fire: The 1968 Election and the Transformation of American Politics' by Lawrence O’Donnell
It was the year an American presidential candidate declared: ‘We got too much dignity in government now; what we need is some meanness.’ Even without this call to arms, meanness was abundant. A prominent journalist, on live television, derided a rival as a ‘queer’ and harangued him for having written a novel about a transsexual. The mayor of Chicago screamed, ‘Fuck you, you Jew son of a ... (read more)

Barbara Keys reviews 'The Cold War: A world history' by Odd Arne Westad

January–February 2018, no. 398 19 December 2017
Barbara Keys reviews 'The Cold War: A world history' by Odd Arne Westad
‘The long years we spent plunged in the Cold War made losers of us all,’ Mikhail Gorbachev lamented after the collapse of the Soviet Union. By then, Gorbachev was unequivocally a loser himself – out of power and soon to be Russia’s least popular former leader, with ratings far lower than Stalin’s. Americans do not share the sentiment that the Cold War was a net loss. They experienced th ... (read more)