Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Sheila Fitzpatrick

Sheila Fitzpatrick

Sheila Fitzpatrick’s most recent books include The Shortest History of the Soviet Union (2022),  On Stalin’s Team: The years of living dangerously in Soviet politics (2015) and White Russians, Red Peril: A Cold War history of migration to Australia (2020). She is a professor at Australian Catholic University.

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'The Red Hotel: The untold story of Stalin’s disinformation war' by Alan Philps

October 2023, no. 458 24 September 2023
Stalin really knew how to lock a country down. Western intelligence services had virtually no secret information sources in the Soviet Union in the 1940s, in contrast to the Soviets’ striking success with Kim Philby, the mole who held a senior position in British intelligence. Western diplomats in Moscow had no direct contacts with members of the Russian population, other than the various watchf ... (read more)

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'Beyond the Wall: East Germany, 1949–1990' by Katja Hoyer

July 2023, no. 455 26 June 2023
Katja Hoyer, born in East Germany, was four years old when, on the eve of the state’s collapse in 1989, her parents took her to the Berlin Television Tower and she gazed spellbound from its rotating visitors’ platform at the protesters and police cars gathering in the square below. In this book, Hoyer sets out to show an East Germany that amounted to more than just the Berlin Wall and the Stas ... (read more)

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'Putin: His life and times' by Philip Short

September 2022, no. 446 25 August 2022
In the era of Russia’s war in Ukraine, who would be a ‘Putinversteher?’ (‘Putin-understander’) is the disdainful German term used for someone trying to negotiate the perilous path between Putin-apologist and Putin-denouncer. Understanding Vladimir Putin means grasping how Putin himself sees the world he is operating upon. Philip Short, a former BBC foreign correspondent in Moscow, has co ... (read more)

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'The Red Witch: A biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard' by Nathan Hobby

July 2022, no. 444 25 June 2022
Katharine Susannah Prichard is one of those mid-century Australian literary figures like Vance Palmer whose name is mentioned in literary histories more often than her books are read. As it happens, she was a schoolfriend of Vance’s future wife, Nettie, née Higgins, who became a distinguished literary critic, as well as of the pioneering woman lawyer Christian Jollie Smith, and Hilda Bull, late ... (read more)

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'The Party: The Communist Party of Australia from heyday to reckoning' by Stuart Macintyre

April 2022, no. 441 23 March 2022
Stuart Macintyre was in a league of his own as a historian of communism. That’s not just a comment on his status as a historian of the Communist Party of Australia, whose first volume, The Reds (1999), took the party from its origins in 1920 to brief illegality at the beginning of World War II, and whose second, The Party, covering the period from the 1940s to the end of the 1960s, now appears p ... (read more)

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'The Summer of Theory: History of a rebellion, 1960–1990' by Philipp Felsch translated by Tony Crawford

March 2022, no. 440 20 February 2022
‘Theory of what?’ is the obvious lay response to Philipp Felsch’s title. But for those in the know, it goes without saying that he is talking about Theory with a capital T. That strange hybrid of philosophy, ethnology, and literary criticism cast its spell over participants in the student movement in Germany from the mid-1960s and in Paris after 1968. In the 1980s and 1990s, it reached the h ... (read more)

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'Fortress Dark and Stern: The Soviet home front during World War II' by Wendy Z. Goldman and Donald Filtzer

September 2021, no. 435 19 August 2021
When I was a graduate student in the Soviet Union in the late 1960s, Russian friends used to talk a lot about World War II. Their stories were of hardship and suffering stoically borne by the population and finally vindicated by victory in 1945. This was not dissimilar from what was published in the Soviet press on the subject, but without the press’s obligatory references to the wise leadership ... (read more)

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'The Last Million: Europe’s displaced persons from World War to Cold War' by David Nasaw

January–February 2021, no. 428 16 December 2020
This is a book in the expansive American tradition of long, well-researched historical works on political topics with broad appeal, written in an accessible style for a popular audience. David Nasaw has not previously worked on displaced persons, but he is the author of several big biographies, most recently of political patriarch Joseph P. Kennedy. If you are interested in displaced persons beca ... (read more)

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'Traitors and Spies: Espionage and corruption in high places in Australia, 1901–50' by John Fahey

October 2020, no. 425 24 September 2020
I am a great fan of archives, and so is John Fahey, a former officer of an Australian intelligence service (the Defence Signals Directorate) turned historian. His previous book, Australia’s First Spies (2018), covered the same time period (1901–50) but focused on the good guys (our spies) rather than the bad ones (their spies). His itemised list of Australian, British, and US archival files co ... (read more)

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'The Ratline: Love, lies and justice on the trail of a Nazi fugitive' by Philippe Sands

June–July 2020, no. 422 26 May 2020
Hunting Nazis is an almost guaranteed reading pleasure – the joy of the chase, plus the moral uplift of being on the side of virtue. I started Philippe Sands’s book with a sense both of anticipation and déjà vu. A respected British international human rights lawyer with the proven ability to tell a story, Sands should be giving us a superior version of a familiar product. Many readers will r ... (read more)
Page 1 of 3