Skip to comments.In Memoriam: With God and Richard Pipes
Posted on 05/22/2018 11:39:10 AM PDT by GreyFriar
America loses its greatest scholar of Russia and communism.
The most respected academic authority on the Russian Revolution, 20thcentury communism, and the Cold War has died. He was Richard Pipes, longtime professor of Russian history at Harvard, and a remarkable man.
Where to start with an adequate tribute to Professor Pipes? Ill start with some biographical observations and then finish with personal reflections.
Richard Pipes was born in Poland on July 11, 1923. As a 16-year-old Jew at the time of Hitlers invasion, Pipes mercifully escaped, thanks to a clever and shrewd father. He credited not only his father but also Providential intervention. That experience, and those that followed, taught Pipes several life lessons. In his memoir, Vixi: Memoirs of a Non-Belonger, he wrote: The main effect of the Holocaust on my psyche was to make me delight in every day of life that has been granted to me, for I was saved from certain death. Pipes observed: I felt and feel to this day that I have been spared not to waste my life on self-indulgence or self-aggrandizement but to spread a moral message by showing, using examples from history, how evil ideas lead to evil consequences. Since scholars have written enough on the Holocaust, I thought it my mission to demonstrate this truth using the example of communism.
Pipes would do exactly that.
(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...
I recommend reading Paul Kengor’s entire eulogy at the link.
Pipes’ books are excellent.
I own copies of:
Russia Under the Old Regime (1974)
The Russian Revolution (1990) and
Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime (1994)
Excellent books, all.
Thank you for posting this. It was a great article man he was a cool guy
RIP. That whole generation of heroes - Pipes, Conquest - have gone to their reward leaving behind them a new generation who never read them and would not believe if they had. These are condemned to learning the hard way what was so painstakingly laid out for them so they would not have to.
Thanks for posting this excellent eulogy. May Dr. Pipes rest in peace.
His books on communism are excellent.
I found all of his books as must reading when I was doing Soviet/Warsaw Pact intel in the Army. The only one I haven’t read is his auto-biography, which I’ll have to order and read.
He offered a series of lectures over NPR on Russia’s Old regime which were very informative.
There was some controversy, though, about the extent to which the deplorable features of the Soviet system had roots in the pre-Revolutionary Russian system.
You can find Solzhenitsyn's article referring to Pipes here.
Solzhenitsyn did have a valid point -- Pipes was reluctant to say good things about the Russian peasantry and the culture of ordinary Russians -- but as time passes it does look more and more like a tendency towards centralized autocratic rule is ingrained in Russian culture.
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