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Leonard Bertram Naman Schapiro CBE (22 April 1908 in Glasgow – 2 November 1983 in London) was a British academic and scholar of Russian politics. He taught for many years at the London School of Economics, where he was Professor of Political Science with Special Reference to Russian Studies.

Leonard Schapiro
Leonard Schapiro.jpg
Leonard Schapiro in the 1970s at the LSE
Born22 April 1908
Glasgow
Died2 November 1983
London
Body discoveredInstitute for the Study of Conflict
CitizenshipBritish
Alma materUniversity College London
OccupationAcademic
Known forHistorian
Board member of
Parent(s)Max Schapiro, Leah Levine

Schapiro was of Russian-Jewish background; his father, Max, was the University of Glasgow-educated son of a wealthy businessman who owned a timber mill and forests outside Riga, Latvia; his mother, Leah, was a Polish rabbi's daughter.[1] Born in Glasgow, he was taken to Russia and spent some of his childhood in Riga (his father having taken over the family timber business) and St. Petersburg, when his father took a position in railway administration.[2] He returned to Britain with his parents in 1920 and completed his education in London, at St Paul's School, then at University College, London. He was called to the Bar from Gray's Inn in 1932, returning to the law after the Second World War until 1955. His fluency in Russian, German, French and Italian led him to work for the B.B.C.'s Monitoring Service in 1940; in 1942 he joined the General Staff at the War Office, and from 1945-6 served in the Intelligence Division of the German Control Command, reaching the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel.[3][4]

Schapiro's most famous book was The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, first published in 1960 with a revised and expanded edition in 1970. He was chairman of the Institute for the Study of Conflict in 1970. He wrote many books about communism, particularly in the context of the Soviet Union. Shapiro's traditional liberalism alienated him from those scholars more sympathetic to the goals, if not the means of Soviet socialism, such as E. H. Carr.

Schapiro also translated into English the novel Spring Torrents by Ivan Turgenev. After his death, some of his scattered articles were collected in the volume Russian Studies (1987).

He had married firstly, in 1943, Isabel de Madariaga, an historian of eighteenth century Russia;[5] following their 1976 divorce, he married editor Roma Thewes.[6]

BooksEdit

  • The Origins of the Communist Autocracy, G. Bell and Sons, 1955.
  • The Communist Party of the Soviet Union, Random House Publishers, 1970. ISBN 9780394470146
  • Totalitarianism: Key Concepts in Political Science, The University of Michigan, 1972.
  • The Russian Revolutions of 1917: The Origins of Modern Communism, Basic Books, Inc., Publishers, 1984.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Leonard Bertram Schapiro (1908-1983): An Intellectual Memoir, Peter Reddaway, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1984, p. 1
  2. ^ Leonard Bertram Schapiro (1908-1983): An Intellectual Memoir, Peter Reddaway, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1984, pp. 1-2
  3. ^ Leonard Bertram Schapiro (1908-1983): An Intellectual Memoir, Peter Reddaway, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1984, pp. 3-4
  4. ^ "The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography". 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/31658.
  5. ^ Scott, Hamish (2014-07-15). "Isabel de Madariaga obituary". The Guardian.
  6. ^ Leonard Bertram Schapiro (1908-1983): An Intellectual Memoir, Peter Reddaway, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, 1984, p. 30