Conquest receives Medal of Freedom

Robert Conquest

Robert Conquest

Robert Conquest, a renowned historian of Soviet politics and foreign policy, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George Bush during a Nov. 9 ceremony at the White House.

Conquest, a research fellow at the Hoover Institution, was one of 14 recipients of the medal, the nation's highest civil award. He is known for his landmark work The Great Terror: Stalin's Purge of the Thirties. More than 35 years after its publication, the book remains one of the most influential studies of Soviet history and has been translated into more than 20 languages. Conquest also is author of the acclaimed books Harvest of Sorrow, Stalin and the Kirov Murder, The Great Terror: A Reassessment, Stalin: Breaker of Nations and Reflections on a Ravaged Century. His most recent book is The Dragons of Expectation.

Other 2005 recipients of the Medal of Freedom include legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, actress Carol Burnett, software designers Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn, singer Aretha Franklin, economist Alan Greenspan, actor Andy Griffith, radio personality Paul Harvey, former congressman and veterans' activist Sonny Montgomery, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Richard B. Myers, golfer Jack Nicklaus, former baseball player and baseball team manager Frank Robinson, and Paul Rusesabagina, whose heroic actions during the 1994 Rwandan genocide inspired the movie Hotel Rwanda.

Established in 1963, the Medal of Freedom may be awarded by the president "to any person who has made an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, or world peace, or cultural or other significant public or private endeavors."