People often ask me why I dress in black, followed immediately by the suggestion that I must like Johnny Cash. With all due respect to Johnny, I prefer classic rock and big band music; I dress in black because I lived for many years in the Balkans and picked up the local custom. (It also simplifies getting dressed in the morning.) I bring my life experiences into the classroom to give my students the benefits of the things I have seen and learned, and to inspire them to get out in the world and see it for themselves. I teach courses on a wide range of subjects and enjoy them all, but my favorites are the Integrated Learning Community courses I team-teach with other faculty members, combining history with such subjects as science, communications and literary appreciation.
I specialize in the history of the Twentieth Century with a focus on American and International Communism - a subject I have been studying since the beginning of my academic career. My fifteen minutes of fame came in 1993 when I accompanied a team from Yale University press to Moscow to become one of the first three American scholars to examine the files of the American Communist Party - files long thought lost, but instead sent to the Soviet Union in yearly shipments and stored in Siberia for safe keeping.
When not reading and writing about history I enjoy espionage novels, good scotch, and movies with great special effects. I have been married for 25 years to a woman who has generously supported my obsessions and tolerated my long absences abroad. We have two children who want to know why I don’t write something that will make a lot of money. I wonder that myself sometimes.