AustLit logo
Sheila Fitzpatrick Sheila Fitzpatrick i(A17350 works by)
Born: Established: 1941 Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Female
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


Sheila Fitzpatrick gained a PhD from Oxford University in 1969. She has been Distinguished Service Professor in Modern Russian History at the University of Chicago and an annual Visiting Professor at the University of Sydney. Fitzpatrick has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and a past President of the American Association for Slavic and East European Studies.

In 2016, her On Stalin's Team: The Years of Living Dangerously in Soviet Politics won the Prime Minister's Literary Award (Non-fiction).

Fitzpatrick is the daughter of historian Brian Fitzpatrick.

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Mischka's War : A European Odyssey of the 1940s Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 2017 11731889 2017 single work biography

'On a winter's day in 1943, 22-year-old Mischka Danos chanced on a terrible sight as he skied through Latvian woods—a pit filled with the bodies of Jews killed by the occupying Germans. The world was full of such atrocities, which makes Mischka's decision to escape conscription to the Waffen-SS by going on a student exchange to Germany all the more remarkable. Even more so when Mischka later discovered he was part-Jewish.

'But his was no ordinary life. He narrowly escaped death in the Allied fire bombing of Dresden. He then lived the precarious life of a Displaced Person in occupied Germany before heading north with the hope of crossing the border into Denmark, where he finally reunited with his mother Olga. He went on to become a member of the exceptional Heidelberg school of physics. They were both resettled in the US at the beginning of the 1950s, which is where, much later, he met, fell in love with and married Sheila Fitzpatrick.

'Fitzpatrick pieces together her late husband's story through diaries, correspondence and recollections: 'This is a historian's book but it's also a wife's book about her husband ... an offering of love that is also a search for knowledge.'' (Publication summary)

2018 shortlisted Prime Minister's Literary Awards Non-Fiction
y separately published work icon A Spy in the Archives Melbourne : Melbourne University Press , 2013 6480074 2013 single work autobiography

'In 1968 historian Sheila Fitzpatrick was ‘outed’ by the Russian newspaper Sovetskaya Rossiya as all but a spy for Western intelligence. She was in Moscow at the time, working in Soviet archives for her doctoral thesis on AV Lunacharsky, the first Soviet Commissar of Enlightenment after the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution.

Despite KGB attention, and the impossibility of finding a suitable winter coat, Sheila felt more at ease in Moscow than in Britain—a feeling cemented by her friendships with Lunacharsky's daughter, Irina, and brother-in-law, Igor, a reform-minded old Bolshevik who became a surrogate father and a intellectual mentor. An affair with young Communist activist, Sasha, pulled her further into a world in which she already felt at home. For the Soviet authorities and archives, however, she would always be marked as a foreigner, and so potentially a spy.

Punctuated by letters to her mother in Melbourne and her diary entries of the time, and borne along by Fitzpatrick's wry, insightful narrative, A Spy in the Archives captures the life and times of Cold War Russia. ' (Publisher's blurb)

2014 shortlisted National Biography Award
y separately published work icon My Father's Daughter : Memories of an Australian Childhood Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 2010 Z1713085 2010 single work autobiography

'How does a daughter tell the story of her father?

Sheila Fitzpatrick was taught from an early age to question authority. She learnt it from her father, the journalist and radical historian Brian Fitzpatrick. But very soon, she began to turn her questioning gaze on him.

Teasing apart the many layers of memory, Fitzpatrick reveals a complex portrait of an Australian family against a Cold War backdrop. As her relationship with her father fades from girlhood adoration to adolescent scepticism, she flees Melbourne for Oxford to start a new life. But it's not so easy to escape being her father's daughter.

My Father's Daughter is a vivid evocation of an Australian childhood; a personal memoir told with the piercing insight of a historian.' (From the publisher's website.)

2012 winner ASAL Awards The Australian Historical Association Awards Magarey Medal for Biography
2011 shortlisted National Biography Award
Last amended 9 Nov 2016 07:25:08
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: