Ascher, Abraham 1928-
ASCHER, Abraham 1928-
PERSONAL: Born August 26, 1928, in Breslau, Germany; immigrated to United States, 1943; naturalized citizen, 1950; son of Jakob (a store owner) and Feiga Ascher; married June 29, 1958; children: Deborah, Rachel, Stephen. Education: City College (now of the City University of New York), B.S.S., 1950; Columbia University, M.A., 1951, Ph.D., 1957.
ADDRESSES: Home—79 Vanderbilt Rd., Manhasset, NY 11030. office—Department of History, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, Brooklyn, NY 11210.
CAREER: Freelance writer of radio scripts for Voice of America, 1952; Brooklyn College (now of the City University of New York), Brooklyn, NY, instructor, 1953-57, assistant professor, 1960-64, associate professor, 1965-70, professor of history, 1970—, chairman of department, 1974-76; U.S. Department of State, Washington, DC, research analyst of international Communism, 1957-58; State University of New York at Stony Brook, assistant professor of history, 1958-60. Instructor at Rutgers University, Jersey City, NJ, 1956-57. Director of National Endowment for the Humanities' Division of Education Programs, 1976—.
AWARDS, HONORS: Rockefeller Foundation fellow, 1963-64; Hoover Institution grants, summers, 1965-66; Friedrich Ebert stiftung, 1966; American Council of Learned Societies fellow, 1968-69; Harvard University Russian Research Center fellow, 1968-69; American Philosophical Society grant, 1973; City University of New York grant, 1973; National Endowment for the Humanities senior fellow, 1974-75; Earhart Foundation research grants, 1998, 2000, 2001.
Pavel Axelrod and the Development of Menshevism, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, MA), 1972.
The Kremlin, Newsweek, 1972.
(Author of preface) Victor Muravin, The Diary of Vikenty Angarov (novel), Newsweek, 1978.
(Editor, with Tibor Halasi-Kun and Bela K. Kiraly) The Mutual Effects of the Islamic and Judeo-Christian Worlds: The East European Pattern, Brooklyn College Press (Brooklyn, NY), 1979.
The Revolution of 1905, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), Volume I: Russia in Disarray, 1990, Volume II: Authority Restored, 1993.
P. A. Stolypin: The Search for Stability in Late Imperial Russia, Stanford University Press (Stanford, CA), 2001.
Contributor of articles and reviews to history and foreign studies journals.
SIDELIGHTS: Abraham Ascher is a professor specializing in Russian history, and his two-volume The Revolution of 1905 is a study on this topic. Using lengthy research in the form of memoirs, archives, and newspapers, Ascher details the events leading up to and following the revolution and encompassing the years 1903 to 1907. In Volume I, Russia in Dissarray, he profiles the circumstances surrounding Russian Prime Minister Petyr Stolypin's leadership of a coup d'etat against his political opponents, a move that proved to be critical as it led to Russia's temporary move away from communism and toward a parliamentary form of government. Robert Weinberg commented in the Journal of Social History that in the second volume of the work, Authority Restored, "Ascher offers a sophisticated and nuanced explanation of why constitutionalism failed to take hold in Russia during 1905-1907." Weinberg also noted that the author "weaves a coherent narrative and analysis of the final phase of the revolution without sacrificing any of the complexity and ambiguity of the events themselves." David MacKenzie, in a Historian review, agreed: "Ascher has presented this dramatic story of Russia's political evolution clearly and cogently."
Ascher narrows his scope on this same topic a bit with his 2001 book P. A. Stolypin: The Search for Stability in Late Imperial Russia. This is the first English-language biography written about Stolypin, who served for only five years. Ascher points out that Stolypin was the most competent leader of his day, possessing the skills necessary to modernize Russia's political system and deal with the social and political unrest that would ultimately fuel the 1917 revolution. John Keep commented in the Times Literary Supplement that, "Behind his stern demeanor lay a warmhearted humanity and considerable charm. This becomes clear from his few surviving private papers, which Abraham Ascher puts to good use in this sympathetic but judicious biography." However, Stolypin's modern ideas, and what some saw as his "over-ambitious attitude," led instead to his assassination. Jack M. Lauber in History: Review of New Books called P. A. Stolypin "a major contribution to our understanding of these important years following the 1905 revolution."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, October, 1994, Andrew M. Verner, review of The Revolution of 1905: Authority Restored, p. 1364; April, 2002, George Yaney, review of P. A. Stolypin: The Search for Stability in Late Imperial Russia, p. 662.
Canadian Journal of History, April, 1993, David Mc-Donald, review of The Revolution of 1905, p. 131.
Historian, summer, 1993, David MacKenzie, review of The Revolution of 1905, p. 727.
History: Review of New Books, fall, 2001, Jack M. Lauber, review of P. A. Stolypin, p. 30.
Journal of Social History, fall, 1994, Robert Weinberg, review of The Revolution of 1905, p. 205.
Russian Review, October, 1993, John Bushnell, review of The Revolution of 1905: Authority Restored, p. 559.
Times Literary Supplement, March 5, 1993, Geoffrey Hosking, review of The Revolution of 1905, p. 9; March 15, 2002, John Keep, "Back Where He Started."*