Timothy D. Snyder

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Timothy D. Snyder
Timothy Snyder, 2016 (cropped).jpg
Timothy Snyder in 2016
Born
Timothy David Snyder

(1969-08-18) August 18, 1969 (age 52)
Ohio, United States
Spouse(s)
(m. 2005)
Children2
AwardsAmerican Historical Association's George Louis Beer Award (2003),[1]
Hannah Arendt Prize (2013),
The VIZE 97 Prize (2015)
Academic background
Alma mater
Academic work
Sub-disciplineHistory of Eastern Europe
Institutions

Timothy David Snyder (born August 18, 1969) is an American author and historian specializing in the history of Central and Eastern Europe and the Holocaust. He is the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.[2] He has written several books, including the best-sellers Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin and On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century.[3]

Snyder is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Early life and education[edit]

Snyder was born on August 18, 1969,[4] in the Dayton, Ohio area, the son of Christine Hadley Snyder, a teacher, accountant, and homemaker, and Estel Eugene Snyder, a veterinarian.[5] Snyder's parents were married in a Quaker ceremony in 1963 in Ohio, and his mother was active in preserving her family farmstead as a Quaker historic site. Snyder graduated from Centerville High School. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in history and political science from Brown University and his Doctor of Philosophy degree in modern history in 1995 at the University of Oxford, supervised by Timothy Garton Ash and Jerzy Jedlicki. He was a Marshall Scholar at Balliol College, Oxford, from 1991 to 1994.[6]

Career[edit]

Snyder has held fellowships at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris from 1994 to 1995, the Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen in Vienna in 1996, the Olin Institute for Strategic Studies at Harvard University in 1997, and was an Academy Scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University from 1998 to 2001.

He has also been an instructor at the College of Europe Natolin Campus, the Baron Velge Chair at the Université libre de Bruxelles, the Cleveringa Chair at the Leiden University, Philippe Romain Chair at the London School of Economics, and the 2013 René Girard Lecturer at Stanford University.[7][8][9] Prior to assuming the Richard C. Levin Professorship of History, Snyder was the Bird White Housum Professor of History at Yale University.

He is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.[10] On 25 September 2020, he was named as one of the 25 members of the "Real Facebook Oversight Board", an independent monitoring group over Facebook.[11]

Snyder is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. He serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Modern European History and East European Politics and Societies.[12]

For the academic year 2013–2014, he held the Philippe Roman Chair of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science.[13]

Works[edit]

External video
Timothy-Snyder-2015.jpg
video icon Ukraine: From Propaganda to Reality, Chicago Humanities Festival, 57:35, November 14, 2014
Snyder in Lviv, Ukraine, September 2014

Snyder has written five books and co-edited two. He says that he speaks five European languages and reads ten. This enables him to use primary and archival sources in Germany and Central Europe in his research.[14] Snyder has stressed that in order to engage in such transnational history, knowing other languages is very important, saying "If you don't know Russian, you don't really know what you're missing."[15]

In 2010 Snyder published Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin. Bloodlands was a best seller[16] and has been translated into 20 languages.[12] In an interview with Slovene historian Luka Lisjak Gabrijelčič in 2016, Snyder described the book as an attempt to overcome the limitations of national history in explaining the political crimes perpetrated in Eastern Europe in the 1930s and 1940s:

The point of Bloodlands was that we hadn’t noticed a major event in European history: the fact 13 million civilians were murdered for political reasons in a rather confined space over a short period of time. The question of the book was: ‘How this could have happened?’ We have some history of Soviet terror, of the Holocaust, of the Ukrainian famine, of the German reprisals against the civilians. But all of these crimes happened in the same places in a short time span, so why not treat them as a single event and see if they can be unified under a meaningful narrative.[17]

Bloodlands got reviews ranging from highly critical to "rapturous".[18][19] In assessing these reviews, Jacques Sémelin described it as one of those books that "change the way we look at a period in history".[19] Sémelin noted that some historians have criticized the chronological construction of events, the arbitrary geographical delimitation, Snyder's numbers on victims and violence, and a lack of focus on interactions between different actors.[19] Omer Bartov wrote that "the book presents no new evidence and makes no new arguments",[20] and in a highly critical review Richard Evans wrote that, because of its lack of causal argument, "Snyder’s book is of no use", and that Snyder "hasn't really mastered the voluminous literature on Hitler’s Germany", which "leads him into error in a number of places" regarding the politics of Nazi Germany.[21] On the other hand, Wendy Lower wrote that it was a "masterful synthesis",[22] John Connelly called it "morally informed scholarship of the highest calibre",[23] and Christopher Browning described it as "stunning".[18] The journal Contemporary European History published a special forum on the book in 2012, featuring reviews by Mark Mazower, Dan Diner, Thomas Kühne and Jörg Baberowski, as well as an introduction and response by Snyder.[24]

Snyder's 2012 book Thinking the Twentieth Century was co-authored with Tony Judt while Judt was in the late stages of ALS disease.[25]

Snyder published Black Earth in 2015. The book received mixed reviews, with several harsh reviews.[18]

In 2017 he published On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, a short book about how to prevent a democracy from becoming a tyranny, with a focus on modern United States politics and on what he called "America's turn towards authoritarianism".[26] The book topped the New York Times bestseller list for paperback nonfiction in 2017[27] and remained on bestseller lists as late as 2021.[28][29]

Snyder has published essays in publications such as the International Herald Tribune, The Nation, New York Review of Books,[30] the Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic, Eurozine, Tygodnik Powszechny, the Chicago Tribune, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Views[edit]

Although primarily a scholar of 20th century Eastern European history, in the mid-2010s Snyder became interested in contemporary politics, health and education. In January 2021 he said that the defunding of departments of history and the humanities since the supposed post-Soviet end of history have led to a society without the "concepts and references" or structural tools to discuss eroding factors such as modern forms of populism.[31]

Views on Putin[edit]

In The Road to Unfreedom, Snyder argues that Vladimir Putin's regime in Russia is authoritarian, and that it uses fascist ideas in its rhetoric.[32] In December 2018, during a discussion with a fellow historian of Eastern Europe, John Connelly, Snyder referred to this as schizo-fascism:

...fascist ideas have come to Russia at a historical moment, three generations after the Second World War, when it’s impossible for Russians to think of themselves as fascist. The entire meaning of the war in Soviet education was as an anti-fascist struggle, where the Russians are on the side of the good and the fascists are the enemy. So there’s this odd business, which I call in the book “schizo-fascism,” where people who are themselves unambiguously fascists refer to others as fascists.[33]

On 20 June 2017, a discussion on Germany’s historical responsibility towards Ukraine was held in the German Parliament.

His view was questioned by Marlene Laruelle, Research Professor at The George Washington University:

Contrary to [Snyder's] claims, the Kremlin does not live in an ideological world inspired by Nazi Germany, but in one in which the Yalta decades, the Gorbachev-Yeltsin years, and the collapse of the Soviet Union still constitute the main historical referents and traumas.[34]

Laruelle accused Snyder of "distortions, inaccuracies, and selective interpretations."[18]

Views on the Trump presidency[edit]

Asked in early 2017 how the agenda of the Trump administration compared with Adolf Hitler's rise to power, Snyder said that history "does not repeat. But it does offer us examples and patterns, and thereby enlarges our imaginations and creates more possibilities for anticipation and resistance".[35]

In a May 2017 interview with Salon, he warned that the Trump administration would attempt to subvert democracy by declaring a state of emergency and take full control of the government, similar to Hitler's Reichstag fire: "it’s pretty much inevitable that they will try."[36] According to Snyder, "Trump's campaign for president of the United States was basically a Russian operation." Snyder also warned that Trump's lies would lead to tyranny.[37]

In January 2021, Snyder published a New York Times essay on the future of the GOP in response to the siege of the United States Capitol, blaming Trump and his "enablers", Senators Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, for the insurrection fueled by their claims of election fraud, writing that:

...the breakers have an even stronger reason to see Trump disappear: It is impossible to inherit from someone who is still around. Seizing Trump’s big lie might appear to be a gesture of support. In fact it expresses a wish for his political death.[38]

Teaching[edit]

Snyder teaches a two-part lecture course at Yale covering the history of Eastern Europe pre- and post-1914, a critical turning point in world affairs. In Fall 2020, he is teaching "Hitler, Stalin, and Us" using remote audio recordings. In the past he has also taught an undergraduate seminar on communism in Eastern Europe.[39]

Personal life[edit]

Snyder speaks five and reads ten European languages.[40] In 2005 he married Marci Shore, a professor of European cultural and intellectual history at Yale University. They have two children together.[41] In December 2019, he fell gravely ill following a series of medical misdiagnoses. While recuperating through the coronavirus pandemic he wrote Our Malady, about the problems of the for-profit health care system in the US, and the coronavirus response so far.

Awards[edit]

Selected works[edit]

  • Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz (Harvard University Press, 1998).
  • Wall Around the West: State Power and Immigration Controls in Europe and North America (Rowman and Littlefield, 2000). Co-edited with Peter Andreas.
  • The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 (Yale University Press, 2003)
  • Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist's Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine (Yale University Press, 2005)
  • The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (Basic Books, 2008)
  • Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (Basic Books, 2010)
  • Thinking the Twentieth Century With Tony Judt. (Penguin, 2012)
  • Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (Penguin, 2015)
  • On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century (Penguin, 2017) ISBN 978-0804190114
  • The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America (Penguin, 2018)
  • Our Malady: Lessons in Liberty from a Hospital Diary (Penguin, 2020) ISBN 9780593238899

References[edit]

  1. ^ George Louis Beer Prize Archived 2019-09-17 at the Wayback Machine American Historical Association (homepage), Retrieved November 30, 2012
  2. ^ Ian Kershaw and Timothy Snyder to be honoured with Leipzig Book Prize for European Understanding 2012 Leipzig.de, January 16, 2012 Archived March 5, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Gonzales, Susan (October 21, 2017). "One Yale historian, two NYT bestsellers". Yale News. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  4. ^ "Library of Congress Authorities". LCNAF Cataloging in Publication data - LC Control Number: no 98080445. LOC. Archived from the original on June 19, 2012. Retrieved January 22, 2010.
  5. ^ Estel Eugene Snyder and Christine Hadley Snyder. Google Books. 8 September 2015. ISBN 9781101903469. Archived from the original on 9 January 2021. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  6. ^ "Timothy Snyder Receives 2011 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award" Archived 2012-12-04 at the Wayback Machine, The Phi Beta Kappa Society, 05 December 2011
  7. ^ "Professor Timothy Snyder". Yale University. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  8. ^ "Timothy Snyder, author of Bloodlands, to speak at Stanford on March 13". Stanford University. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  9. ^ "Timothy Snyder". London School of Economics. Archived from the original on July 30, 2017. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  10. ^ "Professor Timothy Snyder". Yale University. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2020-10-06.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ a b "Best-selling author, historian Timothy Snyder to deliver W. Bruce Lincoln lecture Sept. 19" Archived 2021-01-09 at the Wayback Machine, Northern Illinois University; retrieved October 3, 2012
  13. ^ "Timothy Snyder - Individual Bios - People - IDEAS - Home". Lse.ac.uk. Archived from the original on 2014-03-05. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
  14. ^ "A review of 'On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century'". Daily Kos. Retrieved 2020-03-14.
  15. ^ "Timothy Snyder, interviewed by 'Prospero' Archived 2021-01-09 at the Wayback Machine, The Economist (Books), June 2011
  16. ^ Gonzales, Susan (October 21, 2017). "One Yale historian, two NYT bestsellers". Yale News. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  17. ^ "Beware the destruction of the State. An Interview with Timothy Snyder". Eurozine. 2016-09-09. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2020-11-15.
  18. ^ a b c d "The Bleak Prophecy of Timothy Snyder". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 2019-04-12. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2019-04-16.
  19. ^ a b c Sémelin, Jacques (2013-02-14). "Timothy Snyder and his Critics". Books & Ideas. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2020-11-16.
  20. ^ Bartov, Omer (2010). "Review of "Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin"" (PDF). Slavic Review. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2021-01-04.
  21. ^ Evans, Richard J. (4 November 2010). "Who Remembers the Poles?". London Review of Books. 32 (21). Archived from the original on 2020-07-26.
  22. ^ Lower, Wendy (9 May 2011). "Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin". Journal of Genocide Research. 13 (1–2): 165–167. doi:10.1080/14623528.2011.561952. S2CID 30363015.
  23. ^ Connely, John (26 September 2011). "Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin". Journal of Genocide Research. 13 (3): 313–352. doi:10.1080/14623528.2011.606703. S2CID 72891599.
  24. ^ "Forum: Timothy Snyder's Bloodlands". Contemporary European History. May 2012.
  25. ^ "The Liveliest Mind in New York". New York. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2010-08-08.
  26. ^ Rucker, Philip; Costa, Robert (October 2, 2019). "'A presidency of one': Key federal agencies increasingly compelled to benefit Trump". The Washington Post. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  27. ^ Gonzales, Susan (October 21, 2017). "One Yale historian, two NYT bestsellers". Yale News. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  28. ^ Juris, Carolyn (January 22, 2021). "This Week's Bestsellers: January 25, 2021". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  29. ^ "Washington Post paperback bestsellers". The Washington Post. February 9, 2021. Retrieved 18 February 2021.
  30. ^ "List of articles by Snyder in The New York Review of Books". Archived from the original on 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2010-12-21.
  31. ^ "Has the threat of Trump really gone? - Timothy Snyder". Channel 4 News, 8 January 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2021
  32. ^ "The Road to Unfreedom by Timothy Snyder | PenguinRandomHouse.com: Books". PenguinRandomhouse.com. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  33. ^ "Public Thinker: Timothy Snyder on Russia and "Dark Globalization"". Public Books. December 7, 2018. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved January 14, 2019.
  34. ^ "Is Russia Really "Fascist"? A Comment on Timothy Snyder". PONARS Eurasia. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2019-01-14.
  35. ^ Snyder, Timothy (February 7, 2017). "We have at most a year to defend American democracy, perhaps less" (Interview). Matthias Kolb. Süddeutsche Zeitung. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved February 28, 2017.
  36. ^ Devega, Chauncey (May 1, 2017). "Historian Timothy Snyder: "It's pretty much inevitable" that Trump will try to stage a coup and overthrow democracy". Salon. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved May 1, 2017.
  37. ^ "Historian Timothy Snyder: Trump's lies are creeping tyranny" Archived 2021-01-09 at the Wayback Machine. Vox. May 22, 2017.
  38. ^ "The American Abyss: A historian of fascism and political atrocity on Trump, the mob and what comes next." Archived 2021-01-09 at the Wayback Machine. The New York Times. January 9, 2021.
  39. ^ "History: Lecture Courses". Yale University. 2016. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  40. ^ History for the Future (Історія для майбутнього) Archived 2021-01-09 at the Wayback Machine. Ukrayina Moloda. 26 June 2015
  41. ^ "Marriage announcement in Lehigh Valley Morning Call, February 13, 2005". Archived from the original on 2014-12-20. Retrieved 2014-03-04.
  42. ^ "FNP Prize ceremony". Foundation for Polish Science. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2018-12-06.
  43. ^ "Dagmar Havlova Presents 17th VIZE Award to Historian Timothy Snyder in Prague". American Friends of the Czech Republic. October 5, 2015. Archived from the original on February 15, 2017. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  44. ^ a b c d e f "Timothy Snyder". Timothy Snyder. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  45. ^ "Literatur: US-Professor Timothy Snyder erhält Hannah-Arendt-Preis - Bremen" (in German). Focus.de. 22 August 2013. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
  46. ^ "The Truth about Holocaust & Stalinist Repression Winners". prakhin.org. 2014-01-26. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2014-03-05.
  47. ^ "Nagroda Moczarskiego". nagrodamoczarskiego.pl. Archived from the original on 2021-01-09. Retrieved 2020-03-08.
  48. ^ "Snyder book honored by American Academy of Arts and Letters". Yale University. March 16, 2012. Archived from the original on January 9, 2021. Retrieved July 30, 2017.

External links[edit]