Robert W. Thurston

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Robert W. Thurston is an American historian, author, and former history professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Thurston is primarily known for his work on the history of the Soviet Union; he has also written on early modern witchcraft (Witch, Wicce, Mother Goose: The Rise and Fall of the Witch Hunts in Europe and North America)[1] and on coffee (Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry). He has published a variety of papers and books on these topics. He is also a cofounder and managing partner of the Oxford Coffee Company, a roastery and coffeehouse in Oxford, Ohio.[2]

He has given talks in recent years in the U.S., Britain, France, Nicaragua, and China on coffee and consumption patterns.

Current project is The Body in the Anglo-Saxon World, 1885-1920: Reshaping Race, Sexuality, and Civilization, book. The work examines presentations of the body in the circus, photography, ads, sports, and the new field of anthropology, and how treatment of images of the body affected discussion of what human beings were and how they behaved.


Born in Washington, D.C., Thurston graduated high school outside of Cleveland and received his undergraduate education at Northwestern University,[2] studying Russian to complement his history degree. He went on to earn a doctorate in modern Russian history from the University of Michigan. He spent several years living in Russia, and eventually moved to Oxford, Ohio, where he taught history at Miami University for 25 years until his retirement in 2015.[2]

In November 1992, Thurston 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.[3]

In 2012, Thurston cofounded the Oxford Coffee Company in Oxford, Ohio.[2]


Russian history[edit]

Early modern witchcraft[edit]

  • Witch, Wicce, Mother Goose: The Rise and Fall of the Witch Hunts in Europe and North America (2001). Longman.[1]
    • 2nd edition: The Witch Hunts: A History of the Witch Persecutions in Europe and North America (2006). Longman.

American and world history[edit]

  • Lynching: American Mob Murder in Global Perspective (2011). Ashgate.[5]


  • Senior editor and contributor to Coffee: A Comprehensive Guide to the Bean, the Beverage, and the Industry Rowman and Littlefield, 2013. The book won a prize from Gourmand Magazine as the best published in the U.S. in 2013. Named by Library Journal as one of the best reference works of 2013.


External links[edit]