Uncommon Knowledge: 5 Questions For Stephen Kotkin


Stephen Kotkin is a professor of history at Princeton and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author of nine works of history, including the first two volumes of his planned three-volume history of Russian power and Joseph Stalin, Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928 and Waiting for Hitler, 1929–1941. The premise of this show is simple: Peter Robinson poses five questions to Dr. Kotkin: what Xi Jinping, the president of China believes; what Vladimir Putin believes; whether nuclear weapons are a deterrent in the 21st century; the chances of another American renewal; and Kotkin’s rational basis for loving the United States. It’s a fascinating conversation that delves deep into one of the country’s brightest minds.

Recorded on January 14, 2022


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  1. Quintus Sertorius Coolidge
    Quintus Sertorius

    Bravo!! This is brilliant!! Steven Kotkin is absolutely brilliant and this interview is fantastic!!

    Thanks so so much!!

    • #1
  2. James Salerno Coolidge
    James Salerno

    TWO YEARS until Stalin Vol. 3?!?!?! I can’t wait that long!


    Great interview though!

    • #2
  3. danys Thatcher


    Thank you for this wonderful interview with Steven Kotkin.

    We are not in an existential fight even though it can feel that way particularly here in California.

    I have spent more than 2 years consciously fighting to ignore the hyperbolic excesses of political commentators, political activists, and politicians. Instead I chat with my neighbors, co-workers, and people at the grocery store. We can live together and disagree without demonizing one another.

    Yet, I fear it will not be easy in California. 

    Thank you Prof. Kotkin for helping me better understand the larger picture.

    • #3
  4. colleenb Member

    Fantastic interview. I will always listen to Professor Kotkin. @jamessalerno I am so impressed that you have read the Stalin volumes. I keep weighing picking them up and just getting started but the volume does intimidate me. Too little time, too many books.

    • #4
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