Catherine Merridale

Catherine Anne Merridale, FBA (born 12 October 1959) is a British writer and historian with a special interest in Russian history.

Catherine Merridale

Merridale at the Göteborg Book Fair in Sweden, 2017
Born (1959-10-12) 12 October 1959
CitizenshipUnited Kingdom
Academic background
Alma materKing's College, Cambridge
University of Birmingham
ThesisThe Communist Party in Moscow 1925-1932 (1987)
Academic work

Early life and education

Merridale was born on 12 October 1959 to Philip and Anne Merridale.[1] She was educated at Andover Grammar School, a state school in Andover, Hampshire, and at Cricklade College, a further education college that is also in Andover.[1] She studied history at King's College, Cambridge, graduating with a first class Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in 1982.[1][2] She continued her studies at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies of the University of Birmingham, and completed her Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in 1987.[1][2] Her doctoral thesis was titled "The Communist Party in Moscow 1925-1932".[3]

Academic career

Merridale was Professor of Contemporary History at Queen Mary, University of London from 2004 to 2014.[1] She has been a senior research fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, University of London, since her retirement from full-time academia in 2014.[1][4]sResearch interests

In an interview with The Independent, Merridale recalls how she became interested in Russia and its past. She began studying Russian in school and first visited the country at the age of 18. She said of her first impression of Russia, "Going from the then ghastly Soviet airport, everything in Moscow was grey and cold and hard. Suddenly in the middle of the city were these golden cupolas and enormous redbrick walls with peculiar swallowtail battlement pattern that didn’t look Russian, but did at the same time."[5] When she began work on her higher degrees, Merridale spent a year living in Moscow and observing the changes occurring during that time.[5] In another interview with, Merridale summarises her perspective of Russian history, "my message is that we have to take each generation of Russian leaders as they are and not keep assuming that Russia is fated to follow a special path and will always be the same. That there is a Russian destiny." [6]

Later career

Having retired from her academic career, Merridale became a freelance writer in 2014. She has written for the London Review of Books, the New Statesman, The Independent, The Guardian, and the Literary Review. She has also contributed to BBC Radio.[7][8] The author has spoken out publicly about the issues of publishing books in the field of history. There is much more pressure to publish shorter articles than full-length books, a "great shame" according to Merridale, author of multiple history books.[9]

Selected works

  • Merridale, Catherine (1990). Moscow Politics and the Rise of Stalin: The Communist Party in the Capital, 1925-32. New York: St. Martin's Press. ISBN 0312047991. OCLC 21337606.
  • Merridale, Catherine (2001). Night of Stone: Death and Memory in Twentieth-Century Russia. New York: Viking. ISBN 0670894745. OCLC 44573540.
  • Merridale, Catherine (2006). Culture and Combat Motivation. London: Sage Publications. OCLC 67636955.
  • Merridale, Catherine (2006). Ivan's War: life and death in the Red Army, 1939-1945. New York: Metropolitan Books. ISBN 0805074554. OCLC 60671899.
  • Merridale, Catherine (2013). Red fortress: history and illusion in the Kremlin. New York: Metropolitan Books, Henry Volt and Company. ISBN 0805086803. OCLC 827256860.
  • Merridale, Catherine (2016). Lenin on the Train. UK: Penguin. ISBN 0141979933. OCLC 944462944.



  1. "Merridale, Prof. Catherine Anne, (born 12 Oct. 1959), writer and historian; Professor of Contemporary History, Queen Mary, University of London, 2004–14", Who's Who, Oxford University Press, 2017-12-01, doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.u287778, retrieved 2019-11-09
  2. "Professor Catherine Merridale". Queen Mary University of London, School of History. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  3. Anne, Merridale, Catherine (1987). "The Communist Party in Moscow 1925-1932". E-Thesis Online Service. The British Library Board. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  4. "Professor Catherine Merridale". Institute of Historical Research. University of London. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
  5. "Author Catherine Merridale wins Pushkin Prize for her biography of the Kremlin". The Independent. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  6. "Pushkin House Book Prize: Catherine Merridale". Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  7. Merridale, Catherine (2013). Red Fortress. New York: Metropolitan Books. ISBN 9780805086805.
  8. Merridale, Catherine (2006). Ivan's War (1 ed.). New York: Metropolitan Books. ISBN 9780805074550.
  9. Furness, Hannah. "Serious history books will soon become a rarity, Wolfson History Prize winner says". The Telegraph. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  10. "Red Fortress: the secret heart of Russia's history". The London School of Economics and Political Science. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  11. "Books by Catherine Merridale". Kirkus Reviews. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  12. "Winners of The Arthur Goodzeit Book Award". New York Military Affairs Symposium. Retrieved 18 September 2014.
  13. "Catherine Merridale". HeadRead. Archived from the original on 9 October 2014. Retrieved 6 October 2014.
  15. "Serious history books will soon become a rarity, Wolfson History Prize winner says". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-06-13.
  16. "Professor Catherine Merridale". British Academy. Retrieved 17 January 2018.
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