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Anne Applebaum

Anne Applebaum Author and Pulitzer Prize winner Anne Applebaum took up the post of Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at the School for 2012-13. She was the first woman to ever hold this position.

Anne Applebaum is the Director of Political Studies at the Legatum Institute in London, and a columnist for the Washington Post and Slate. After graduating from Yale University, Anne Applebaum was a Marshall Scholar at both the LSE and St. Antony’s College Oxford. She has also lectured at Yale and Columbia Universities, amongst others.

Anne Applebaum’s journalistic work focuses on US and international politics, with a particular focus on economic and political transition. Her career began in 1989 at The Economist, where she covered the collapse of communism as the Warsaw correspondent. In 1993 she became the Foreign Editor, and then the Deputy Editor, of the Spectator magazine in London, and has also held the position of Political Editor of the Evening Standard. She has written columns for numerous British newspapers throughout her career, including The Guardian, Daily and Sunday Telegraphs, before joining the Washington Post in 2001.

Her recent and best known book, Gulag: A history, won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction, as well as Britain’s Duff-Cooper Prize. Gulag: A history has appeared in over two dozen translations, including all major European languages. Her first book Between East and West: Across the Borderlands of Europe awarded her the Adolph Bentinck Special Mention Award in 1996. In 2010 in Budapest, she received the Petöfi Prize for promotion of freedom and democracy in Central Europe.

Select Publications

Gulag: A History (Doubleday, New York/Penguin, London; 2002)

  • Gulag Voices: An Anthology (editor) (Yale University Press, New Haven; 2010)
  • Between East and West: Across the Borderlands of Europe (Pantheon Books, New York/Macmillan, London; 1995)

iron_curtain_113x148 Anne Applebaum's latest work Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944 - 1956|  was published on 4 October 2012. It explains how Communism was imposed on the previously free societies of Central and Eastern Europe, in the decade after the end of the Second World War.

For purchasing information please visit Pages of Hackney|.



Prof Applebaum tought a seminar titled: 

‘The History of the Soviet Union and of the Post-Soviet Transition.'

Academic Officer


Marie Julie Chenard| assisted Professor Applebaum. She earned her PhD in International History from the LSE in 2012. She holds an MA in International History and a BA in International Relations and History from the LSE. She previously taught HY101: The European Civil War 1890 - 1990.




  • The enduring legacy of despots
    Anne Applebaum on the death of Joseph Stalin, 60 years ago, and the death of Hugo Chavez.
  • Lessons Learnt? Anne Applebaum discusses with Radosław Sikorski
    The Polish Foreign Minister, Radosław Sikorski, joined Anne Applebaum and her students to discuss whether and how the Polish transition experiences from Communism to capitalist liberal democracy can be exported. The seminar formed the concluding one in a series on the History of the Soviet Union and of the Post-Soviet Transition.
  • Anne Applebaum on the concept of Eastern Europe in Prospect Magazine
    Anne Applebaum argues that ‘Eastern Europe’, a political concept specific to a particular historical period, no longer exists. Eastern Europe has never been a single cultural entity, rich as it is with different languages, religions and ethnicities, and it was a single political entity, Applebaum argues, only during those Cold War years when Soviet Communism and repression united it under one terrible economic and political system.
  • Narrative, Memory and the Mind - Anne Applebaum speaks at the LSE Literary Festival
    'Our ability to remember forms the basis of who we are, and is a psychological trick that has fascinated scientists and authors alike. But are our memories reliable, or are the stories we tell about our past just a fiction of the mind?' At the LSE Literary Panel Anne Applebaum will speak on a panel that brings together psychology, history and literature in its exploration of memory.
  • Q&A with Anne Applebaum
    Pulitzer Prize winning author Anne Applebaum discusses the effects of communist totalitarianism in East Germany, Poland and Hungary from the end of World War II to the uprisings of 1956 in the years following Stalin's death.
  • Interview with Anne Applebaum: How the Iron Curtain Survived for so long - Slate Magazine
    Between 1945 and 1953, as Anne Applebaum writes in Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-1956, 'it did seem as if the USSR would succeed in turning the widely varying nations of Eastern Europe into an ideologically and politically homogenous region.' In her interview with Slate Magazine she tells more.
  • The Economist Best Books of 2012
    Iron Curtain: 'A highly readable and trenchant analysis by the Pulitzer prize-winning author of “Gulag”. Anne Applebaum picks through the rubble of Eastern Europe’s most difficult decade and traces how, in the end, the Soviet empire’s ambitions there contained the seeds of its own destruction.'
  • FT Best Books of 2012
    Iron Curtain by Anne Applebaum features on the FT's list of best books of 2012. 'Applebaum, who won a Pulitzer Prize for her history of the gulag, turns her attention to the way in which the Soviet Union imposed its rule on Eastern Europe in the aftermath of 1945. A timely and compelling history, as the cold war recedes from memory.'
  • Page and Perspective: Applebaum to Speak on Communism "From The Ground Up"
    'Lots of history and current events would suggest that people living under totalitarian rule are bound to rise up, in overwhelming favor of democracy. One of the most notorious and fascinating counterexamples is the Communist takeover of Eastern Europe after World War II.' Anne Applebaum spoke on the subject of her new book, Iron Curtain in Washington on November 29, 2012.
  • The Washington Times Book Review of Iron Curtain
    'How was the Soviet Union able to impose its system on other nations? To answer that question, historian Anne Applebaum has put together an important and highly readable book on the history of the first decade of the Cold War. Focusing primarily on Poland, Hungary and East Germany, Ms. Applebaum notes with vivid clarity how the military occupation gave the Kremlin the ability to install loyalists, many of whom had fled their own countries to live in the Soviet Union before and during the war.' Frank T. Csongos, a former reporter, editor and bureau chief of United Press International and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, reviews Iron Curtain.
  • Gulag: What We Know and Why It Matters - LSE IDEAS Interview
    Anne Applebaum, the current Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs at LSE IDEAS, discussed the Stalinist Gulag system and why it continues to matter almost 60 years after the death of Stalin.
  • Best books of 2012 - Washington Post
    'Iron Curtain' by Anne Applebaum features in the Washington Post's list of best books of 2012.
  • Polish President hands state medal to Anne Applebaum on Independence Day
    Anne Applebaum was among those decorated by President Komorowski during the Independence Day honours held in the Presidential Palace. She accepted the Officer's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
  • Polskie Radio: Anne Applebaum on how Stalin crushed Eastern Europe
    “I think that like most of these kinds of regimes, there was a very small percentage of fanatics, and then in society, there was a very small percentage of people who were willing to lay down their lives to fight back,” the author told Polske Radio reporter Nick Hodge.
  • Before there was Pussy Riot... - Anne Applebaum in the Huffington Post
    This adapted excerpt from Pulitzer-prize winning historian Anne Applebaum's new book, Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-1956 (Doubleday), explains how resistance functioned in Eastern Europe.
  • New York Times Sunday Book Review
    Max Frankel, former executive editor of The Times, who reported for many years from Moscow and Eastern Europe, reviews 'Iron Curtain' by Anne Applebaum.
  • Interview with Kultura Liberalna: How the Curtain was drawn
    Anne Applebaum talks to Łukasz Pawłowski about her new book, „Iron Curtain. The Crushing of Eastern Europe”.
  • Gulag: What We Know Now and Why It Matters - Public Lecture
    Join us tonight as Professor Anne Applebaum presents her Pulitzer Prize-winning research on the topic: "Gulag: What We Know Now and Why It Matters". 6.30pm, Old Theatre, Old Building.
  • Cruelty and injustice in postwar Europe - Anne Applebaum writes in the Jewish Chronicle
    'Many Jewish communists were ambivalent about Jews and about the Holocaust, even as it was unfolding' - writes Anne Applebaum.
  • On the bookshelf of the Wall Street Journal: Iron Curtain review
    Dark Blots on the Blank Slate - an epic yet intimate history of how the Soviets attempted to remake every aspect of life in Eastern Europe in the wake of World War II, writes Ms. Siegel, history professor at Ohio State University in her review of 'Iron Curtain' by Anne Applebaum.
  • People Power: a dream, fig leaf or reality?
    BBC World Service - The Forum: How much influence do citizens really have on the political class and on government decisions? Anne Applebaum, Egyptian writer and economist Tarek Osman, and Chinese professor Weiwei Zhang discuss with Zeinab Badawi from the BBC.
  • Listen to the latest interview with Anne Applebaum
    On show trials, on how the church in Poland stood up to the Soviets after World War II, on the fear of abstract art in communist culture, on forcing people to participate in parades, flag waving and song singing, and on the collapse of communism in the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Anne Applebaum's interview on Kera.
  • Keith Lowe's review of 'Iron Curtain' for the Telegraph
    A 'masterful history of control and defiance in post-war Eastern Europe', writes Keith Lowe about Anne Applebaum's newest book in his review for the Telegraph. He praises 'Applebaum’s ability to take a dense and complex subject, replete with communist acronyms and impenetrable jargon, and make it not only informative but enjoyable – and even occasionally witty. In that respect alone, it is a true masterpiece.'
  • Following the Stalinist recipe in Russia - Washington Post
    Fred Hiatt reviews 'Iron Curtain' by Anne Applebaum, and describes the book as 'richly human, sometimes funny, often heartbreaking and remarkably suspenseful, given that we know how the story ends.' The book 'is dedicated “to those Eastern Europeans who tried, as far as was then possible, to think, see, hear and speak the truth,” but it is circumspect in passing judgments. Applebaum respects the impossible moral dilemmas that totalitarianism imposed and the many shapes, short of suicidal rebellion, that resistance could take.'
  • Anne Applebaum: After Tyrants, the People Must Act
    The New York Times Opinion Pages: Anne Applebaum writes on the dead weight of past dictatorships. The 'Soviet pattern of “totalitarianization” — the pursuit of total control over all aspects of public life — was widely imitated. Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and Muammar el-Qaddafi’s Libya got Soviet and East German advice on secret police methods, as did Chinese, Egyptian, Syrian, Angolan, Cuban and North Korean governments on those and other aspects of societal control. As we now know, these methods never worked as they were meant to do in Eastern Europe, and they were never entirely successful in Asia, Africa, Latin America or, as we’ve lately seen, in the Arab world. Nevertheless, they did great damage.'
  • Upcoming talk at UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies: 22 November
    Deconstructing the Iron Curtain: Anne Applebaum in conversation with Professor Geoffrey Hosking
  • Iron Curtain Excerpt 4: Survival sometimes means collaboration. But it is no guarantee of success. - Slate Magazine
    Anne Applebaum on Wanda Telakowska’s attempt to work with the Polish Communist Party.
  • Iron Curtain Excerpt 3: In Hungary, your closest confidantes could be the regime’s best informers - Slate Magazine
    Anne Applebaum on how Hungarian security services watched Géza Supka.
  • Iron Curtain Excerpt 2: the Miracle at Lublin Cathedral - Slate Magazine
    In this second excerpt, Anne Applebaum tells the consequences of a local nun noticing a change on the face of a Virgin Mary icon in the Lublin cathedral on 3 July 1949. Why was the Communist Party helpless against faith?
  • Iron Curtain Excerpt 1: Anne Applebaum on how lives in Eastern Europe were transformed under Soviet totalitarianism. - Slate Magazine
    Anne Applebaum offers a series of excerpts in Slate Magazine where in abbreviated form she shares a few of the stories of her book about the imposition of Soviet totalitarianism on Eastern Europe. The first entry: behind the Iron Curtain - what happens when everything you thought was true proves false?
  • The Collaborator's Song - Anne Applebaum in Foreign Policy
    'We often ask why some people choose to resist authoritarian regimes. But the better question might be why so many decide to cooperate' argues the LSE IDEAS Philippe Roman Chair.
  • America and the World - After the Election
    LSE public discussion, Monday 12 November 2012, 6.30-8pm, LSE Old Theatre, Old Building Speakers: Professor Anne Applebaum, Professor Craig Calhoun, Professor Michael Cox, Gideon Rachman, Chair: Justin Webb This highly topical LSE public debate will look ahead to America’s next administration and assess the challenges it faces at home and how it is likely to address them, as well as how its relationships with Britain, Europe and the rest of the world are likely to develop.
  • Video of the lecture 'True Believers' now online
    Anne Applebaum talks in the LSE IDEAS Philippe Roman Chair Inaugural Lecture about collaboration and opposition under totalitarian regimes.
  • How Communism Took Over Eastern Europe After World War II - Vladimir Dubinsky - The Atlantic
    An insightful interview with Anne Applebaum about her new book.
  • The power of red – The Economist's review
    'Human beings, as Ms Applebaum rousingly concludes, do not acquire “totalitarian personalities” with ease. Even when they seem bewitched by the cult of the leader or of the party, appearances can deceive, she writes. When it seems as if they buy into the most absurd propaganda—marching in parades, chanting slogans, singing that the party is always right—the spell can suddenly, unexpectedly, dramatically be broken.'
  • Communism's end was in its beginning - Roger Moorehouse' review for The Independent
    'Iron Curtain is modern history writing at its very best; assiduously researched, it wears its author's considerable erudition lightly. Pending large-scale revelations from still-closed Soviet archives, it sets a new benchmark for the study of this vitally important subject.'
  • The Soviet Sphere - review by Stefan Wagstyl in the Financial Times
    'A valuable new account of the communist takeover of eastern Europe.'
  • Captives of the Cold War - Simone Sebag Montefiore in the Evening Standard
    ‘Applebaum shows how Stalin effectively created a template for tyranny that was copied in today’s Syria, Kim’s North Korea and Saddam’s Iraq, so that it remains scarily relevant’, writes the Simone Sebag Montefiore in the Evening Standard.
  • Peter Conradi reviews Anne Applebaum's recent book for the Sunday Times
    'An illuminating and exhaustive look at the stage-by-stage changes that turned the ‘normal’ countries of eastern Europe into Soviet clones.’
  • Prof John Connelly (Berkeley) reviews 'Iron Curtain' for the Washington Post
    'In her relentless quest for understanding, Applebaum shines light into forgotten worlds of human hope, suffering and dignity. Those who know little of Europe behind the Iron Curtain will find themselves edified; those who know much will learn much more. Others have told us of the politics of this time. Applebaum does that but also shows what politics meant to people’s lives, in an era when the state did more to shape individual destinies than at any time in history.'
  • One of the year’s most important books - The Telegraph reviews Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe, 1944-56 by Anne Applebaum
    'Few better or more important books than Iron Curtain will be published this year' says Ben Wison in a review article for The Telegraph on Tuesday, 30 October 2012. 'Applebaum writes movingly and with insight into the “tiny compromises” made by ordinary people, not to say the terrors they faced. She uses the stories of everyday life, gleaned from a huge range of sources and interviews, to show how tyranny insinuates itself into societies and how people learnt to survive. Applebaum takes us into the dark heart of totalitarianism.'
  • 2012 National Book Awards Finalists Revealed: Anne Applebaum
    'Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944 - 1956', Anne Applebaum's new book, is a finalist for the National Book Award in the US. Anne Applebaum is the LSE IDEAS Philippe Roman Chair in History and International Affairs for 2012-13. Congratulations!
  • Anne Applebaum takes up Philippe Roman Chair
    Acclaimed scholar and journalist Anne Applebaum will arrive this week at LSE IDEAS to commence her one-year tenure as Philippe Roman Professor in History and International Affairs. Welcome to the first woman to hold this position.


           Previous events 


Does Eastern Europe Still Exist? |

Tuesday 12 March, 6.30pm
Old Theatre, Old Building


Putinism: The Ideology|

Tuesday 12 February, 6.30pm
Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building


The Gulag: What We Know Now and Why Matters|

Tuesday 20 November, 6.30pm
Old Theatre, Old Building

America and the World - After the Election|

Monday 12 November 2012, 6.30pm
Old Theatre, Old Building


True Believers: Collaboration and Opposition under Totalitarian Regimes|

Wednesday 17 October, 6.30pm
Old Theatre, Old Building