Stephen Mark Kotkin (born February 17, 1959) is an American historian, academic and author. He is currently a professor in history and international affairs at Princeton University and a fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
Kotkin's most recent book is his first of three planned volumes, which discuss the life and times of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin: Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928 (2014).
Kotkin graduated from the University of Rochester in 1981 with a B.A. in English. He studied Russian and Soviet history under Reginald E. Zelnik and Martin Malia at the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned his M.A. in 1983 and his Ph.D. in 1988, both in history.
Starting in 1986, Kotkin traveled to the former Soviet Union multiple times for academic research and fellowships. He was a visiting scholar at the Russian Academy of Sciences (1993, 1995, 1998, 1999, 2012), and its predecessor, the USSR Academy of Sciences (1991). He was also a visiting scholar at University of Tokyo's Institute of Social Science Institute in 1994 and 1997
He joined the faculty at Princeton University in 1989, and was the director of the Russian and Eurasian Studies Program for 13 years (1995-2008). He is currently the John P. Birkelund '52 Professor in History and International Affairs at Princeton. He is also a W. Glenn Campbell and Rita Ricardo-Campbell National Fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.
Kotkin has authored several nonfiction books on history as well as textbooks, and is perhaps best known for Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization, which exposes the realities of everyday life in the Soviet city of Magnitogorsk during the 1930s. He published Armageddon Averted, a short history of the fall of the Soviet Union, in 2001.
Kotkin is a frequent contributor on Russian and Eurasian affairs and writes book and film reviews for various publications, including The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Financial Times, The New York Times and the Washington Post. He also contributed as a commentator for NPR and the BBC.
His first volume on the life of Joseph Stalin, a 900-page biography analyzing his life through 1928, received strong reviews. Jennifer Siegel of The New York Times called the biography "a riveting tale, one written with pace and aplomb.... this first volume leaves the reader longing for the story still to come.")
Kotkin is currently writing the second and third volumes on Stalin: Waiting for Hitler (Releasing on November 7, 2017) and Miscalculation and the Mao Eclipse (TBA). He is also working on a multi-century history of Siberia, focusing on the Ob River Valley.
His literary agent is Andrew Wylie.
|1991||Steeltown, USSR: Soviet Society in the Gorbachev Era||Berkeley: University of California; paperback with afterword in 1993||ISBN 0962262900|
|1995||Rediscovering Russia in Asia: Siberia and the Russian Far East||M. E. Sharpe||ISBN 1563245469|
|1995||Magnetic Mountain: Stalinism as a Civilization||Berkeley: University of California||ISBN 0520069080|
|2001||Armageddon Averted: the Soviet Collapse, 1970-2000||Oxford and New York: Oxford University; paperback with new preface, 2003; updated edition 2008||ISBN 0192802453|
|2002||Political Corruption in Transition: A Sceptic's Handbook||Co-authored with András Sajó||Central European University Press||ISBN 9639241466|
|2003||The Cultural Gradient: The Transmission of Ideas in Europe, 1789–1991||Co-authored with Catherine Evtuhov||Rowman & Littlefield||ISBN 0742520625|
|2005||Korea at the Center: Dynamics of Regionalism in Northeast Asia||Co-authored with Charles K. Armstrong, Gilbert Rozman, and Samuel S. Kim||M. E. Sharpe|
|2009||Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of Communist Establishment||With a contribution by Jan Gross||New York: Modern Library/Random House||ISBN 978-0679642763|
|2010||Manchurian Railways and the Opening of China : an International History||Edited with Bruce A. Elleman||M. E. Sharpe||ISBN 978-0765625144|
|2014||Historical Legacies of Communism in Russia and Eastern Europe||Co-edited with Mark Beissinger||Cambridge University Press||ISBN 1107054176|
|2014||Stalin: Volume I: Paradoxes of Power, 1878–1928||Penguin Press||ISBN 1594203792|
|2017||Stalin: Volume II: Waiting for Hitler, 1929-1941||Penguin Press||ISBN 978-1594203800|