| Abbott (Tom) Gleason is the Barnaby Conrad and Mary Critchfield Keeney
Professor of History Emeritus at Brown. A Brown professor for more than
30 years and former chair of the Department of History, he is known as one of
this country’s premier historians of the former Soviet Union and modern Russia and
an expert on totalitarianism. He is also a former director
of the Kennan Institute for Advanced Russian Studies
at the Wilson Center in Washington, DC. Perhaps best
known for his work Totalitarianism: The Inner History
of the Cold War (1995), he has edited and co-authored
Following is an excerpt of an introduction by
Christopher Lydon, host of Radio Open Source, a conversation
on the arts, humanities, and global affairs
produced in partnership with Brown University and
its Watson Institute for International Studies.
“Tom Gleason might be everybody’s dream of an
intellectual mentor: there are touches of Mr. Chips
about Tom, and of his friend George Kennan, and of
my big brother Peter, and your big brother, too, if you’re
blessed to have one. It’s my thought anyway that if
you assemble a dozen or so people of Tom Gleason’s
range and reading and curiosity and conversational
talent, you’ve got yourself a university.
“A Liberal Education is the title of his memoir.
It’s the private side of a career in Russian studies coinciding with four decades
of Cold War. It warms and deepens my pleasure in the book to have known Tom
well from odd angles: our daughters were college roommates; we’ve listened
to jazz bands many Monday nights at Bovi’s Tavern in East Providence; we read
War and Peace together in a small group two summers ago, then Moby Dick last
summer. The Brothers Karamazov is next, in summer of 2010…”
To listen to the entire show, complete with music, visit http://www.radioopensource.org/tom-gleasons-liberal-education-memoir-with-music/.
Tom Gleason/Courtesy Watson Institute