Bertrand M. Patenaude

Research Fellow

Bertrand M. Patenaude is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is a lecturer in history and international relations at Stanford University. His most recent book is Trotsky: Downfall of a Revolutionary, published by HarperCollins in 2009. He is also the author of A Wealth of Ideas: Revelations from the Hoover Institution Archives (Stanford University Press, 2006), a richly illustrated coffee-table book that showcases the Hoover Archives’ extraordinary collections, which span the entire twentieth century. His first book, The Big Show in Bololand: The American Relief Expedition to Soviet Russia in the Famine of 1921 (Stanford University Press, 2002) won the 2003 Marshall Shulman Book Prize and is the basis for a forthcoming documentary film produced for the award-winning PBS series American Experience.

He has also edited several books, including, with Terence Emmons, War, Revolution, and Peace in Russia: The Passages of Frank Golder, 1914–1927 (Hoover Institution Press, 1992); The Russian Revolution (Garland, 1992); Stalin and Stalinism (Garland, 1992); and Soviet Scholarship under Gorbachev (Center for Russian and East European Studies, Stanford, 1988).

Among his important discoveries in the Hoover Archives is a 1922 Russian-language book manuscript by the Moscow economist Lev Litoshenko. That manuscript, unidentified for decades, turned out to be a first-rate study of Bolshevik agrarian policies during the early years of Soviet power, with special emphasis on the utopian civil war policies known as War Communism. After determining the manuscript's authorship, Patenaude’s subsequent efforts led to its publication in Russia as Sotsializatsiia zemli v Rossii [Socialization of the Land in Russia] (Novosibirsk: Sibirskii khronograf, 2001), which Patenaude edited, together with a team of his Russian colleagues.

Patenaude taught for eight years (1992–2000) in the Department of National Security Affairs at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, where his outstanding performance as a classroom instructor was recognized with the Schieffelin Award for Teaching Excellence for two consecutive years, 1998 and 1999. His book reviews regularly appear in the Wall Street Journal. He was educated at Boston College and the University of Vienna and received his PhD in history from Stanford.

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Recent Commentary

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“Long Telegram,” Long Shadow

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Seventy years have passed since diplomat George Kennan offered his penetrating advice. The story of one of the most important documents in American history.

Remembering the Lusitania

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 20, 2015

The sinking of the famed liner, torpedoed within sight of land, helped draw the United States into the war. It remains a source of fascination—and speculation.

The Zeppelin Menace

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Monday, April 21, 2014

A century before there was the drone, there was the zeppelin. As a weapon of terror, the airship had no equal at the start of the First World War.

Trotsky in Exile
In the News

Book Review: 'The Man Who Loved Dogs' by Leonardo Padura | 'The Obedient Assassin' by John P. Davidson

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia The Wall Street Journal
Friday, February 7, 2014

Leon Trotsky's brutal assassination by a Stalinist agent in Mexico in August 1940 might seem an unlikely wellspring for fiction, but it has inspired more than one novelist in recent years. Barbara Kingsolver's "The Lacuna," published in 2009, centered on an aspiring writer, a Mexican-American, who is shown joining Trotsky's Mexican household as it braces for the Kremlin's assault. In the same year, in Spanish, Leonardo Padura's "The Man Who Loved Dogs" was published, making its central figure the real-life assassin himself, Ramón Mercader. That novel is just now appearing in an English translation, alongside, coincidentally, John Davidson's Trotsky-themed "The Obedient Assassin."

Joseph Goebbels “the first ‘spin doctor’

Curse of the Goebbels Diaries

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Monday, August 13, 2012

The war was over, but the battle to publish the papers of the Nazis’ master propagandist was just beginning. By Bertrand M. Patenaude.

Three barefoot men face

Shooting the Bolsheviks

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Friday, April 6, 2012

Amid the ruins of the Great War, an American camera crew filmed a shocking sight. That roll of celluloid has taken a strange trip through history. By Bertrand M. Patenaude.

Quantum Leaps to Hiroshima

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 2, 2010

Glimpses into the world of the celebrated thinkers who brought the atomic age to life. By Bertrand M. Patenaude.

Analysis and Commentary

The Road to the Stationmaster's House

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Wall Street Journal
Friday, July 2, 2010

Revisiting the chaos at the 'War and Peace' author's death and focusing anew on his devoted, tormented wife...

Trotsky in Exile

Trotsky in Exile

by Bertrand M. Patenaudevia Hoover Digest
Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Rare images of the aging revolutionary in his walled refuge, as his life ticked down. By Bertrand M. Patenaude.