Shukman, Harold 1931-
SHUKMAN, Harold 1931-
PERSONAL: Born March 23, 1931, in London, England; son of David (a tailor) and Masha (Ekinbert) Shukman; married Ann King-Farlow, December 22, 1956 (divorced, 1971); married Barbara King-Farlow (an artist), March 30, 1973; children: (first marriage) David, Henry, Clare; (stepchildren from second marriage) Ghislaine Jacobs, Amelia Jacobs, Adam Jacobs. Education: University of Nottingham, B.A. (with first class honors), 1956; Oxford University, D.Phil., 1960. Politics: "Mildly reactionary/liberal." Religion: "Lapsed psychoanalysand." Hobbies and other interests: Silversmithing.
ADDRESSES: Home—11 Cunliffe Close, Oxford, England. Agent—A. D. Peters, 10 Buckingham St., London SW1, England.
CAREER: Standard Telephones, London, England, trainee radio engineer, 1947-51; Marconi Telecommunications, Chelmsford, Essex, England, executive, 1956-57; Oxford University, Oxford, England, fellow of St. Antony's College, beginning 1961, lecturer in modern Russian history, beginning 1969; retired. Consultant to British Broadcasting Corp. Military service: Royal Air Force, Russian interpreter, 1951-53; became sergeant.
MEMBER: Jewellery and Silver Society of Oxford.
(With George Katkov) Lenin's Path to Power, Macdonald (London, England), 1971.
(With F. W. Deakin and H. T. Willetts) A History of World Communism, Barnes & Noble (New York, NY), 1975.
(Editor) The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Russian Revolution, Basil Blackwell (New York, NY), 1988.
(Editor) Stalin's Generals, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1993.
Rasputin, Sutton Publishing (Stroud, England), 1997.
The Russian Revolution, Sutton Publishing (Stroud, England), 1998.
(With Geoffrey Elliott) Secret Classrooms: An Untold Story of the Cold War, St. Ermin's (London, England), 2003.
Author of a television script for The Great War, a series broadcast by British Broadcasting Corp. Contributor to Slavic studies journals, including Bulletin of Soviet and East European Jewish Affairs.
(And editor, with Max Hayward and Michael Glenny) Three Soviet Plays, Penguin (New York, NY), 1965.
(With Max Hayward) Valentin Kataev, Holy Well, Walker (New York, NY), 1967.
(With others) Yuli Daniel, This Is Moscow Speaking, Harvill (London, England), 1968.
Anatoli Rybakov, Heavy Sand, Viking (New York, NY), 1981.
Roy Medvedev, All Stalin's Men, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1984.
Roy Medvedev, China and the Superpowers, Basil Blackwell (New York, NY), 1986.
Anatoli Rybakov, Children of the Arbat, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1988.
Andrei Gromyko, Memoirs, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1989.
(And editor) Dmitri Volkogonov, Stalin: Triumph and Tragedy, Grove Press (New York, NY), 1991.
(And editor) Dmitri Volkogonov, Lenin: A New Biography, Free Press (New York, NY), 1994.
(And editor) Dmitri Volkogonov, Trotsky: The Eternal Revolutionary, Free Press (New York, NY), 1996.
(And editor) Autopsy for an Empire: The Seven Leaders Who Built the Soviet Regime, Free Press (New York, NY), 1998.
SIDELIGHTS: Harold Shukman is a scholar of Russian history, chiefly concerned with the twentieth century. His work includes histories of the Bolshevik revolution, encyclopedias, and especially translations of noted Russian historians and fiction writers. In a Russian Review consideration of Shukman's The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Russian Revolution, Donald J. Raleigh praised the work for its "high quality" and noted that it "deserves recognition precisely because it meets the need for a general reference work of high quality on the revolution." Much the same could be said for the rest of Shukman's books, which bear in mind both scholarly aims and general interest.
Shukman has also been recognized for his translations of biographies by the late Colonel-General Dmitri Volkogonov, a Russian military historian who, as a government archivist, had unprecedented access to top-secret documents from the regimes of Lenin, Stalin, and Trotsky. Shukman's translations offer to English-speaking readers "provocative [works] for the specialist as well as many a casual student of world affairs," to quote New Leader contributor Anatole Shub. In a Tribune Books review of Trotsky: The Eternal Revolutionary, Mark Kramer wrote that Shukman "has done an admirable job of preserving the elegance and detail of the original Russian version while eliminating many (though not all) of the repetitive passages and digressions. Some minor mistakes arise, but overall the book makes for splendid reading."
Other critics have expressed gratitude for translations of Volkogonov's writings because the Russian author was able to access new information that shed light on the more gruesome aspects of modern Russian history. Kramer, for instance, concluded that Volkogonov's works are "a major step forward in our understanding of . . . the early years of the Soviet regime. . . . [He] brings to an American audience the finest reassessments of Soviet history we are likely to have for many years to come."
Shukman once told CA: "The accident of having Yiddish-speaking Russian parents was responsible for my being propelled into Russian studies in general and aspects of Russian-Jewish history in particular. Otherwise I might have remained in a career with a future—electronics. However, the discovery of the French and Italian languages in 1950-51 coupled with eruption of late adolescent sensuality, diverted me into the vain search for a profession offering culture, luxury, wealth, and ego gratification. An Oxfordian enjoys only one of these all the time, and at most two some of the time."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Historical Review, December, 1969, pp. 546-547.
Nation, May 28, 1988, pp. 746-748; March 25, 1996, pp. 31-32.
National Review, December 31, 1994, p. 57.
New Leader, December 19, 1994, article by Anatole Shub, pp. 28-31.
New Republic, March 18, 1996, pp. 41-45.
New Yorker, April 16, 1984, p. 160.
New York Review of Books, June 15, 1967, p. 23; April 4, 1996, pp. 38-41.
New York Times Book Review, April 1, 1990, p. 7; November 13, 1994, pp. 11-12; March 24, 1996, p. 9.
Publishers Weekly, August 22, 1994, p. 45; December 18, 1995, p. 34.
Russian Review, July, 1990, Donald J. Raleigh, review of The Blackwell Encyclopedia of the Russian Revolution, pp. 351-352.
Spectator, March 3, 1967, p. 251.
Times Literary Supplement, March 16, 1967; March 14, 2003, M. F. Burnyeat, review of Secret Classrooms: An Untold Story of the Cold War, p. 29.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), May 19, 1996, Mark Kramer, review of Trotsky: The Eternal Revolutionary, pp. 1, 9.
Washington Monthly, December, 1994, pp. 55-56.*