Thursday 22nd September 2022
Book your place for this online talk here>
This event will be held via Zoom and a joining link will be sent on the day.
Archie Brown will argue that some of the most popular explanations of the end of the Cold War are very misleading. He will explain how the decisive role played by Mikhail Gorbachev was far from preordained, and he will note surprising elements in the parts played by Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher. The collapse of the Soviet Union is not identical with the end of the Cold War, but there was a connection between the two. The ending of the Cold War accelerated the Soviet breakup. The high hopes of harmony between Russia and the West, which existed from 1988 to 1991, and for a short time thereafter, have been dashed. Failures on both sides in the post-Soviet era (1992-2022) have led us into a new Cold War, a brutal hot war in Ukraine, and an increased danger of catastrophic nuclear war, involving the rest of Europe and the United States.
Biography: Archie Brown was born in Annan in 1938, attended Annan Academy, and spent the first eighteen years of his life in his hometown. Following National Service in the army, he studied at the London School of Economics, and became a Lecturer in Politics at Glasgow University in 1964. During the 1967-68 academic year he was a British Council exchange scholar at Moscow University. In 1971 he left Glasgow to teach at Oxford University, having been elected to a Fellowship of St Antony’s College. He has been there ever since, but with frequent research travel to the Communist world (especially the Soviet Union but including China) and to post-Soviet Russia. He has spent up to a year at a time in Visiting Professorships at American universities – Yale, the University of Connecticut, Columbia University (New York), the University of Texas at Austin, and the University of Notre Dame (Indiana).
Professor Brown was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1991 and as an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003. He was awarded a CMG in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List of 2005. Archie Brown is the author of numerous books and articles, of which the most recent is The Human Factor: Gorbachev, Reagan, and Thatcher, and the End of the Cold War (Oxford University Press paperback, 2022) (OUP; Blackwells; Waterstones; Amazon).
His other recent books include The Myth of the Strong Leader: Political Leadership in the Modern Age (2014; Vintage paperback with updating new Foreword, 2018) which was chosen by Bill Gates as a Book of the Year; and The Rise and Fall of Communism (Vintage paperback, 2010) which won the W.J.M. Mackenzie Prize of the Political Studies Association for best Politics book of the year and the Alec Nove Prize of the British Association for Slavonic and East European Studies for best book on Russia, Communism or Post-Communism.