Eric Homberger’s shameful obituary of Robert Conquest

The ridicule of Conquest is buried in the obituary, but it’s there.

He was a vigorous polemicist, arguing on numerous occasions (perhaps a few times more than was strictly necessary) the many failings of socialist and Marxist thought, as in Where Marx Went Wrong (1970). He later called Marxism a “misleading mental addiction”. Conquest was seldom happier than when refuting western admirers of the Soviet Union, such as EH Carr and Eric Hobsbawm, but often seemed to be addressing audiences who needed little by way of nuance or documentation.

His work makes references to “some circles” and their grievous misunderstandings, and much worse, needs proper sourcing of quotations. But Conquest rather grew out of that kind of thing after the fall of the Soviet Union. In the footsteps of Stalin’s purge prosecutor, he could be a proper little Vyshinsky when dealing with fellow travellers.


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