Robert W. Thurston

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For the science fiction writer see Robert Thurston

Robert W. Thurston is an American historian, who is Professor of History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Thurston is known for primarily working in the field of Sovietology, the historical study of the Soviet Union, although has also written on the subject of the Witch trials in the Early Modern period. He has published a variety of papers and books upon these topics.

In November 1992, he publicly argued in the Chronicle of Higher Education that the June 1992 exhibit entitled "Revelations from the Russian Archives", which was held at the Library of Congress, was overly biased against the Soviet Union. He remarked that the "library's accompanying glossy brochure highlighted only the repressive nature of the Soviet regime, ignoring its positive (though flawed) accomplishments." He noted that "Nothing appeared on the growth of education, upward social mobility, increased availability of medical care, urbanization or anything that might be considered positive." He went on to accuse James H. Billington, the librarian of Congress, of advocating "a single point of view" about the Soviet Union. The reporter Arnold Beichman, writing for the right wing Insight on the News newspaper, condemned Thurston for these statements, arguing that "something is drastically wrong with American social sciences" if the Chronicle of Higher Education allowed his comments to be published.[1]

Thurston also owns and operates a coffee shop and roaster in Oxford, Ohio.



  • Liberal City, Conservative State: Moscow and Russia's Urban Crisis, 1906-1914 (1987). Oxford University Press.
  • Life and Terror in Stalin's Russia, 1934-1941 (1996). Yale University Press.
  • The People's War: Responses to World War II in the Soviet Union (2000); anthology, edited by Thurston and Bernd Bonwetsch. University of Illinois Press.

Early Modern Witchcraft[edit]

  • Witch, Wicce, Mother Goose: The Rise and Fall of the Witch Hunts in Europe and North America (2001). Longman.
    • Republished as The Witch Hunts: A History of the Witch Persecutions in Europe and North America (2006). Longman.

American History[edit]

  • Lynching: American Mob Murder in Global Perspective (2011). Ashgate. Link to a description of the book and to purchasing information:


  • Senior editor and contributor to Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry Rowman and Littlefield, 2013.