Timothy Snyder

Timothy Snyder's picture
Richard C. Levin Professor of History
On Leave: 
AY 18-19
Horchow Hall, Room 203 (55 Hillhouse)
Fields of interest: 

Modern Eastern Europe


Timothy Snyder is one of the leading American historians and public intellectuals, and enjoys perhaps greater prominence in Europe, the subject of most of his work.  He is the Housum Professor of History at Yale University and a permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna.  He received his doctorate from the University of Oxford in 1997, where he was a British Marshall Scholar.  Before joining the faculty at Yale in 2001, he held fellowships in Paris, Vienna, and Warsaw, and an Academy Scholarship at Harvard.  He speaks five and reads ten European languages.  Among his publications are six single-authored award-winning books, all of which have been translated: Nationalism, Marxism, and Modern Central Europe: A Biography of Kazimierz Kelles-Krauz (1998, second edition 2016); The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 (2003); Sketches from a Secret War: A Polish Artist’s Mission to Liberate Soviet Ukraine (2005); The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of a Habsburg Archduke (2008); and Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin (2010). Bloodlands won twelve awards including the Emerson Prize in the Humanities, a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Leipzig Award for European Understanding, and the Hannah Arendt Prize in Political Thought.  It has been translated into thirty-three languages, was named to twelve book-of-the-year lists, and was a bestseller in six countries.  His most recent book, Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning (2015) will appear in twenty-four foreign editions.  It has been a bestseller in four countries and has received multiple distinctions including the award of the Dutch Auschwitz Committee. Snyder is also the co-editor of two books: Wall Around the West: State Borders and Immigration Controls in Europe and North America (2001) and Stalin and Europe: Terror, War, Domination (2013).  In a very special project, Snyder helped his friend, the distinguished historian and intellectual Tony Judt, to compose a thematic history of political ideas and intellectuals in politics, Thinking the Twentieth Century (2012). Snyder’s essays on the Ukrainian revolution were published in Russian and Ukrainian as Ukrainian History, Russian Politics, European Futures (2014).  A broader range of essays was published in Czech as The Politics of Life and Death (2015). Snyder sits on the editorial boards of the Journal of Modern European History and East European Politics and Societies.  His scholarly articles have appeared in Past and Present, the Journal of Cold War Studies, and other journals; he has also written for The New York Review of Books, Foreign Affairs, The Times Literary Supplement, The Nation, and The New Republic as well as for The New York Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, and other newspapers.  Snyder was the recipient of an inaugural Andrew Carnegie Fellowship in 2015 and received the Havel Foundation prize the same year.  He has received state orders from Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland.  He is a member of the Committee on Conscience of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, is the faculty advisor for the Fortunoff Collection of Holocaust Testimonies at Yale, and sits on the advisory councils of the Yivo Institute for Jewish Research and other organizations. 

He teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in modern East European political history.

Scholarly Articles

Selected Book Reviews

  • “Caught Between Hitler and Stalin” (on “Defiance,” a film directed by Edward Zwick and Defiance by Nechama Tec), New York Review of Books, 30 April 2009.
  • “Hitler’s Dialectic of Death,” on Mark Mazower, Hitler’s Empire: Nazi Rule in Occupied Europe, London: Allen Unwin, 2008, in Times Literary Supplement, 14 August 2008.
  • “The Unknown Holocaust,” on Joshua Rubernstein and llya Altman, eds., The Unknown Black Book: The Holocaust in the German-Occupied Soviet Territories, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2008, in Truthdig, 15 February 2008.
  • “At the Deep End,” on Abram Brumberg, Journeys Through Vanishing Worlds, London: Scarith, in Times Literary Supplement, 4 April 2008.
  • “Betrayed on All Sides,” on Jan Gross, Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz: An essay in Historical Interpretation, Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006, Times Literary Supplement, 6 October 2006, 27.
  • Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, New York: Penguin, 2005, in IWM Newsletter, Vienna, Spring 2006.
  • “Wartime Lies,” on Czeslaw Milosz, Legends of Modernity: Essays and Letters From Occupied Poland, trans. Madeline Levine, New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005, The Nation, January 9/16 2006, 26-29.
  • “Revolution Without the Workers,” on David Ost, The Defeat of Solidarity: Anger and Politics in Eastern Europe, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2005, for Times Literary Supplement, 23 and 30 December 2005, 39.
  • “Keys to Kiev,” on Serhii Plokhy, The Unmaking of Imperial Russia: Mykhaïlo Hrushevsky and the Writing of Ukrainian History, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2005, for Times Literary Supplement, 16 December 2005, 25.
  • “The Old Country,” on Anatol Lieven, America Right or Wrong: An Anatomy of American Nationalism, for Times Literary Supplement, 25 March 2005, 34-36.
  • “Ways of Dying,” on Kate Brown, A Biography of No Place: From Ethnic Borderland to Soviet Heartland, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004, and Karel C. Berkhoff, Harvest of Despair: Life and Death in Ukraine under Nazi Rule, Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004, Times Literary Supplement, 24 September 2004.
  • “Pity the First Ally,” on Norman Davies, Rising ‘44: The Battle for Warsaw, London: Macmillan, 2003, for Times Literary Supplement, 20 February 2004, 13.
  • “The Inevitability of the Unexpected,” review of Roman Szporluk, Russia, Ukraine, and the Breakup of the Soviet Union, Stanford: Hoover Institution Press, 2000, in Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen Newsletter (Vienna), 76, Spring 2002, 25-26.

Selected Essays

  • “Holocaust: The Ignored Reality,” New York Review of Books, 16 July 2009.
  • “In the Shadow of Emperors and General Secretaries: On the origins of the nations of East Central Europe” (“W cieniu cesaerzy i sekretarzy”), Tygodnik Powszechny, 27 July 2008, 24-25.
  • “Ukraine: The Orange Revolution,” with Timothy Garton Ash, New York Review of Books, 28 April 2005, 28-32.
  • “War is Peace,” Prospect, Number 104, November 2004, 32-37.
  • “A Legend of Freedom: Solidarity,” (“Legenda o wolnosci”), Tygodnik Powszechny, special edition on Solidarity, 4 September 2005.
  • “The Ethnic Cleansing of Volhynia, 1943” (“Wolyn, rok 1943),” Tygodnik Powszechny (Cracow), 11 May 2003, 1, 7.
  • “Five Centuries and Eight Years: Operation Vistula and the homogeneity of Polish society” (Piec wieków i osiem lat: ““Akcja ‘Wisla’ a homogenicznosc polskiego spoleczenstwa”), Tygodnik Powszechny, April 2002.
  • “Poles and Czechs, Ten Years On,” Prospect, February 1999, 54-57. 

Selected Editorials



Eastern Europe
Western Europe
Empires & Colonialism
Gender & Sexuality
War & Society