Tuesday, April 16, 2013


I can remember conceiving of Soviet Roulette years ago.  I was in the kitchen with my ex-wife's friend who maintained a couple of popular blogs:  one devoted to children's spelling bees and the other devoted to American Idol.   Julia and Julia, blogging most famous portrayal on film, had recently been in theaters.  Having just finished a series of books on Russia, I decided right there and then that I too could start a blog.  My ex-wife's friend, a successful script writer in Hollywood, promised to make a movie out of Soviet Roulette if I could find a good hook.  Well, I'm not sure I ever found a good "hook" and certainly no movie was ever made.  On the other hand, I did write about modern Russian history and its resonance in my own life history for several years. The practice of writing so frequently was good for me.  I think the blog format also helped me to confront an old fear I had about writing for an audience, however small.  But most importantly, the blog helped me to revitalize my interest in pursuing a more formal career in history.

Soviet Roulette is officially on hiatus.  This will probably be my last post for several months, if not longer.  In recent weeks, I have re-applied to graduate school, asking to have my doctoral candidacy reactivated at a large public research institution.  If that candidacy is granted, I won't have the time to write about Russian history or the Soviet Revolution.  Without any Russian language experience, I'm asking to return to British history and the history of the British Empire.  This is exciting prospect, but also a daunting one.  In preparation, I've immersed myself in British and Indian primary and secondary sources, working hard to be current in the modern scholarship of modern Britain and its empire.  My hope is to find a way to tie Britain, India, and international communism together into a viable dissertation topic.  I'm also thinking very seriously about launching a new blog that tracks my work on this subject as it evolves over time.  Thanks to my readers for all of your comments, encouragement, and involvement over the years!


  1. Cold and empty is my computer screen, colder and emptier even than the Siberian landscape as Ivan Denisovich trudges slowly toward the blockhouse, revolving in his mind the chances of becoming warm this evening at least for five minutes and debating the best way to eat the crust of bread he has secreted in his glove. Please end soon this unjust sentence that has separated me from loved ones and familiar scenes of the past. If this means setting off for the India of the Raj and the furthest corners of the British Empire by way of the dusty streets of Champaign-Urbana, so be it. I can only aspire to follow the words of Ruth, our teacher in the art of faithful friendship: "Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay."
    Best wishes on your new journeys of discovery!

  2. Sorry to see your regular posts here come to an end. I have enjoyed Soviet Roulette and gained much from reading your posts. Thank you!

    And your posts also gave me the opportunity to provide both my better half and a certain violist with regular updates about you and your family.

    You may not know that I have worked in India and I have had a continuing interest in the history of India, especially colonialism in the 19th & 20th century. I would be pleased to hear any of your thoughts and insights.

    Wishing You All the Best,