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Spring 2014
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A Gentleman and a Scholar
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 countryís 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 numerous others.

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.

ďTom Gleason might be everybodyís 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 youíre blessed to have one. Itís my thought anyway that if you assemble a dozen or so people of Tom Gleasonís range and reading and curiosity and conversational talent, youíve got yourself a university.

ďA Liberal Education is the title of his memoir. Itís 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; weíve listened to jazz bands many Monday nights at Boviís 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 2010ÖĒ

To listen to the entire show, complete with music, visit
Tom Gleason/Courtesy Watson Institute
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