Former People: The Final Days of the Russian Aristocracy by Douglas Smith

Thursday 7 March 2013 6:00pm - 8:00pmTickets available
Simulcast Pricing: $10 public; $5 members under the Patron level; free members at the Patron level and above; free college students

Location: Visitor Center Theater

Part of: Lectures and Talks, Member Events, Mansion, Russian

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This lecture is SOLD OUT! Due to popular demand, Hillwood will simulcast the program in a separate room. The pricing for these seats will be: $10 for the public; $5 for members under the Patron level; free for members at the Patron level and above; and free for college students. 

Please call 202-686-5807 for simulcast tickets.

About the Lecture:

In his new book, author Douglas Smith follows two elite families as they struggle to adapt from the glittering wealth of Imperial Russia to the new, hostile order of the Soviet Union.  According to The Dallas News, “This is a story of a mass experience told through individual perspectives. ... The pattern of their fate is so clearly drawn that their individual stories work as highlights and illuminations.”

After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, the lives of aristocrats fell from unimaginable splendor to squalor and exile. Epic in scope and precise in detail, Former People is full of chilling tales of the looted palaces, burned estates, imprisonment, exile, and execution of the Sheremetevs and the Golitsyns.  Thoroughly researched and highly detailed, the book chronicles the overwhelming suffering of two families who survive searches, arrests, exiles, imprisonments, executions, and desecration of graves.  Historical events shed light on the existence of his characters.  As Kirkus said in a starred review, “He portrays with brutal clarity the truth of Orwell’s Animal Farm: A new aristocracy—a political one—emerged to enjoy the benefits of living on the labor of others.”

Member-only reception held in the C.W. Post Center from 6-6:45 pm.

Tour the Mansion and special exhibition from 6-7 pm.

The lecture will begin at 7 pm in the Visitor Center Theater.

After the lecture, Smith will be on-hand to sign copies of Former People, which is availalable for purchase in the Museum Shop.

About the Author:

Douglas Smith is an awarding-winning historian and translator and the author of four books on Russia. He studied German and Russian at the University of Vermont and has a doctorate in history from UCLA. Over the past twenty-five years Smith has made many trips to Russia. In the 1980s, he was a Russian-speaking guide on the U. S. State Department’s exhibition “Information USA” that traveled throughout the USSR. He has worked as a Soviet affairs analyst at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich, Germany specializing in Russian nationalism and served as an interpreter for late President Reagan. 

Smith has taught and lectured widely in the United States, Britain, and Europe and has appeared in documentaries for A&E and National Geographic. He is the recipient of numerous awards and distinctions, including a Fulbright scholarship and a residency at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Study Center.  He last spoke at Hillwood in November 2008.

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