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The Russian Moment in World Historyby Marshall T. Poe
Synopses & Reviews
Is Russian history one big inevitable failure? The Soviet Union's demise and Russia's ensuing troubles have led many to wonder. But this is to look through a skewed prism indeed. In this provocative and elegantly written short history of Russia, Marshall Poe takes us well beyond the Soviet haze deep into the nation's fascinating--not at all inevitable, and in key respects remarkably successful--past.
Tracing Russia's course from its beginnings to the present day, Poe shows that Russia was the only non-Western power to defend itself against Western imperialism for centuries. It did so by building a powerful state that molded society to its military needs. Thus arose the only non-Western path to modern society--a unique path neither European nor Asian but, most aptly, Russian.
From the fifteenth to the eighteenth centuries, Russia prevailed despite unparalleled onslaughts by powerful Western armies. However, while Europe nurtured limited government, capitalism, and scientific and cultural revolution, early Russian society cultivated autocracy and command economics. Both Europe and Russia eventually created modern infrastructures, but the European model proved more productive and powerful. The post-World War I communist era can be seen as a natural continuation of Russia's autocratic past that, despite its tragic turns, kept Russia globally competitive for decades.
The Russian moment in world history thus began with its first confrontations with Europe in the fifteenth century, and ended in 1991 with the Soviet collapse. Written with verve and great insight, The Russian Moment in World History will be widely read and vigorously debated by those who seek a clear and unequivocal understanding of the complex history that has made Russia what it is today.
Offers a reinterpretation of the course of Russian history from the time of its earliest settlers to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Table of Contents
List of Maps ix
Chapter 1: What Russia Is and What It Is Not 1
Chapter 2: From Slavs to Rus' 10
Chapter 3: From Rus' to Russia 28
Chapter 4: The Challenge of Early Modernity 38
Chapter 5: The Origins of the Russian Moment 46
Chapter 6: The Progress of the Russian Moment 58
Chapter 7: From Early Modernity to Modernity 71
Chapter 8: The End of the Russian Moment 86
Chapter 9: Coda: What Might Have Been 91
Bibliographic Note 111
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