Christina Hatfield

Christina Hatfield

Published: 29 Sep 2023


Orlando Figes is a renowned historian whose works have captivated readers with fascinating insights into Russian history and culture. With numerous acclaimed books such as “A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution” and “Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia,” Figes has established himself as a leading expert in the field. Beyond his scholarly achievements, there are intriguing facts about Orlando Figes that shed light on his background and interests. From his unusual path into academia to his controversial controversy surrounding anonymous reviews, Figes’ life has been filled with surprising twists and turns. In this article, we will delve into 13 intriguing facts about Orlando Figes that will give you a deeper understanding of the man behind the books.

Table of Contents

Early Life

Orlando Figes, born on November 20, 1959, is a renowned British historian and author. He grew up in London, where he developed a passion for history at a young age.

Academic Career

Figes pursued his academic career at Cambridge University, where he obtained a First-Class degree in History. He later completed his Ph.D. in History at Trinity College, Cambridge.

Expertise in Russian History

One of Figes’ notable areas of expertise is Russian history. He has written several critically acclaimed books that delve into different aspects of Russian history, including the Bolshevik Revolution and the Soviet Union.

International Recognition

Figes’ works have gained international recognition and have been translated into numerous languages. His insightful contributions to the field of history have earned him a prominent place among the world’s leading historians.

Controversy Surrounding “A People’s Tragedy”

“A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution 1891-1924” is one of Figes’ most famous works. However, it faced controversy when it was revealed that Figes had anonymously posted negative reviews of other historians’ books online.

Honorary Titles

Figes has been honored with several prestigious titles throughout his career. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and was awarded the Wolfson Prize for History.

Teaching Career

In addition to his research and writing, Figes is also a dedicated educator. He has taught at various renowned universities, including Cambridge University and Birkbeck, University of London.

Diversified Works

Figes’ works extend beyond Russian history. He has also written about cultural and social history, including books that explore the impact of family and personal relationships on society.

Literary Contributions

Aside from his academic publications, Figes has also contributed articles to prestigious literary journals and magazines. His insightful commentary has enriched the discourse on history and literature.

Public Intellectual

Figes is known for his public engagement in historical debates and discussions. He frequently participates in conferences, lectures, and public events, sharing his expertise and insights with a wide audience.

Popularizing History

Figes has made significant contributions to popularizing history through his engaging writing style and his ability to make complex historical events accessible to a wider audience.

Award-Winning Author

Figes has received numerous accolades for his books. He has been shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, the Duff Cooper Prize, and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, among others.

Legacy and Influence

Orlando Figes’ impressive body of work continues to shape the field of historical research. His contributions have inspired countless scholars and readers to delve into the fascinating world of Russian history and beyond.


Orlando Figes is undoubtedly an intriguing figure in the world of history and literature. With his thought-provoking books, controversial reputation, and immense contribution to the understanding of Russian history, Figes has carved a niche for himself in the academic world. His extensive research and engaging writing style have captivated readers around the globe, making him one of the most prominent historians of our time.Whether you agree or disagree with his viewpoints, there is no denying the impact Figes has had on our understanding of Russian history. From uncovering forgotten stories to shedding light on the complexities of the Soviet Union, Figes has challenged traditional narratives and sparked countless debates. His ability to breathe life into historical events and personalities is a testament to his skill as a storyteller and his dedication to making history accessible to all.In conclusion, Orlando Figes remains a polarizing figure, but his contributions to the field of history are undeniably significant. His passion for storytelling, meticulous research, and commitment to pushing the boundaries of historical interpretation have cemented his place among the most influential historians of our time. If you are curious about Russian history or simply enjoy a compelling narrative, diving into Figes’ works will undoubtedly be a captivating journey.


1. Who is Orlando Figes?

Orlando Figes is a renowned historian and author, specializing in Russian history and literature. He has written numerous books that have garnered both critical acclaim and controversy.

2. What are some of Orlando Figes’ notable works?

Some of Figes’ notable works include “A People’s Tragedy: The Russian Revolution,” “Natasha’s Dance: A Cultural History of Russia,” and “The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia.”

3. Has Orlando Figes faced any controversies?

Yes, Figes has faced controversies throughout his career. In 2010, he admitted to posting negative reviews of his colleagues’ books on Amazon under a pseudonym, leading to a significant backlash within the academic community.

4. What makes Orlando Figes’ writing style unique?

Figes’ writing style is known for its captivating storytelling and ability to bring historical events and figures to life. He combines meticulous research with a keen understanding of narrative structure, making his books engaging and accessible to a wide audience.

5. Why should I read Orlando Figes’ books?

Reading Orlando Figes’ books offers a unique opportunity to delve into Russian history from a fresh perspective. His extensive research and engaging writing style make complex historical events and concepts more accessible and enjoyable to a wide range of readers.