Timothy D. Snyder

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Timothy D. Snyder
Timothy Snyder lecture 2016 2.jpg
Snyder in 2016 at Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena
Born Timothy David Snyder
(1969-08-18) August 18, 1969 (age 47)
Residence United States
Citizenship United States
Fields History of Eastern Europe
Institutions Yale University,
London School of Economics and Political Science,
College of Europe, Warsaw
Alma mater Brown University (B.A.)
Balliol College, Oxford (D.Phil.)
Notable awards American Historical Association's George Louis Beer Award (2003),[1]
Hannah Arendt Prize (2013),
The VIZE 97 Prize (2015)
Spouse Marci Shore (m. 2005)

Timothy David Snyder (born August 18, 1969)[2] is an American author, historian and academic specializing in the history of Central and Eastern Europe, and the Holocaust. He is a professor at Yale University and is affiliated with the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna[3] and the College of Europe in Natolin, Warsaw, Poland. Snyder is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Education and personal life[edit]

Snyder was born in southwestern Ohio, the son of Christine (Hadley) and Estel Eugene Snyder.[4] Snyder graduated from Centerville High School, 10 miles (16 kilometers) south of Dayton, where his father, a veterinarian and his mother reside. He received his BA degree from Brown University and his DPhil in 1997 from the University of Oxford, where he was a Marshall Scholar.[5] He has held fellowships in Paris, Vienna, Warsaw, and as an Academy Scholar at Harvard University.[citation needed] Since 2005, Snyder has been married to Marci Shore, a professor of European cultural and intellectual history at Yale University. Snyder and Shore have two children together.[6]


Snyder has written five books and co-edited two. One of them, Thinking the Twentieth Century (2012), with the late historian Tony Judt, was written while the latter was dying of ALS disease.[7]

Snyder has published essays in publications such as the International Herald Tribune, The Nation, New York Review of Books,[8] the Times Literary Supplement, The New Republic, Eurozine, Tygodnik Powszechny, the Chicago Tribune, and the Christian Science Monitor.

Snyder at the Yalta European Strategy annual meeting, 2014
Snyder in Lviv, Ukraine, September 2014

Snyder says that he has a reading and/or speaking knowledge of eleven European languages. This enabled him to use primary and archival sources in Germany and Central Europe in researching his book, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin, which was published in 2010. Reviewer Igor Lukes noted:

"A word about sources. Snyder introduces his Bibliography with an impressive list of seventeen archival collections located in six countries. Yet a closer look at the text and endnotes reveals that evidence drawn from archives represents but a small fraction of this book's evidentiary apparatus. This is a project built on secondary sources. The point is that many of Snyder's secondary sources are of the kind that even many specialists are unlikely to have seen, which is hardly surprising because Snyder can do research in ten languages, some pretty exotic. Bloodlands takes nuggets from each source, then assembles them into an original mosaic. Almost every paragraph of the book's eleven chapters is supported by one or several previously underutilized secondary sources."[9]

Snyder says that knowing other languages is very important:

"If you don't know Russian, you don't really know what you're missing. ... We can only see as much, and we can only go as far as our languages take us. I wrote this book in English, but there are very important conversations that are happening in German, Russian, Polish and so on among those historians, and the book is addressed to all of them."[10]

External video
Ukraine: From Propaganda to Reality, Chicago Humanities Festival, 57:35, November 14, 2014

Bloodlands has been translated into 20 languages.[11]

Snyder is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Modern European History and East European Politics and Societies.[11]

For the academic year 2013–2014, he held the Philippe Roman Chair of International History at the London School of Economics and Political Science.[12]

Asked about how the agenda of the Trump administration compared with the Adolf Hitler's rise to power, Snyder said that:

[H]istory does not repeat. But it does offer us examples and patterns, and thereby enlarges our imaginations and creates more possibilities for anticipation and resistance.[13]

He echoed these sentiments in a May 2017 interview with Salon, warning that the Trump Administration will 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."[14] According to Snyder, "Trump's campaign for president of the United States was basically a Russian operation."[15]


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 the past he has also taught an undergraduate seminar on communism in Eastern Europe.[16]


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)


  1. ^ George Louis Beer Prize American Historical Association (homepage), Retrieved November 30, 2012
  2. ^ "Library of Congress Authorities". LCNAF Cataloging in Publication data - LC Control Number: no 98080445. LOC. Retrieved January 22, 2010. 
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ ""Estel Eugene Snyder and Christine Hadley Snyder"". Google Books. Retrieved April 16, 2017. 
  5. ^ Timothy Snyder Receives 2011 Ralph Waldo Emerson Award The Phi Beta Kappa Society, December 5, 2011
  6. ^ Marriage announcement in Lehigh Valley Morning Call, February 13, 2005
  7. ^ "The Liveliest Mind in New York". New York (magazine). 
  8. ^ List of articles by Snyder in The New York Review of Books
  9. ^ Igor Lukes, Timothy Snyder, Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin," Republic of Letters, May 2011.
  10. ^ Timothy Snyder, interviewed by "Prospero", The Economist (Books), June 2011.
  11. ^ a b Best-selling author, historian Timothy Snyder to deliver W. Bruce Lincoln lecture Sept. 19, Northern Illinois University, retrieved October 3, 2012
  12. ^ "Timothy Snyder - Individual Bios - People - IDEAS - Home". Lse.ac.uk. Retrieved 2014-03-05. 
  13. ^ Snyder, Timothy (February 7, 2017). "We have at most a year to defend American democracy, perhaps less" (Interview). Matthias Kolb. Süddeutsche Zeitung. Retrieved February 28, 2017. 
  14. ^ 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. Retrieved May 1, 2017. 
  15. ^ "Historian Timothy Snyder: Trump's lies are creeping tyranny". Vox. May 22, 2017.
  16. ^ "History: Lecture Courses". Yale University. 2016. Retrieved February 27, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Literatur: US-Professor Timothy Snyder erhält Hannah-Arendt-Preis - Bremen" (in German). Focus.de. 22 August 2013. Retrieved 2014-03-05. 
  18. ^ "The Truth about Holocaust & Stalinist Repression Winners". prakhin.org. 2014-01-26. Retrieved 2014-03-05. 

External links[edit]