Synopses & Reviews
Models of Nature studies the early and turbulent years of the Soviet conservation movement from the October Revolution to the mid-1930s—Lenin’s rule to the rise of Stalin. This new edition includes an afterword by the author that reflects upon the study's impact and discusses advances in the field since the book was first published.
“Douglas R. Weiner treats conservation––the main topic of this book––as a complex phenomenon molded by government policies, scientific ideas, cultural values, and ideological tenets. He concentrates on the Soviet period from the October Revolution to the consolidation of Stalinist rule in the mid-1930s. . . . Thoroughly documented and firmly integrated, this book is a major contribution to the history of Soviet science, politics, and culture.”
--American Historical Review
Focusing on the period from the October Revolution to the mid-1930s (from Lenin's rule to the rise of Stalin), Douglas R. Weiner studies the divergence between the growing ecological movement in the country and the state's social and economic policies. The book offers a view of both sides of this dispute: scientific conservation movements on the one hand and an industrializing nation's attitude toward science, scientists, nature, and massive development on the other.
Weiner explains the development in the Soviet Union during the 1920s of pioneering conservation institutions, state practices, and ecological theory, and why those developments were sidelined or quashed by Stalin. The book provides a telling example of the social construction of science, showing how the perceived political implications of rival ecological theories influenced Soviet scientists, and chronicles the nature protection movement's conflicts with both the vigilantes of the Cultural Revolution and Stalin's first Five-Year Plan, which blatantly ignored potential environmental consequences in its quest to industrialize on a large scale.
The new afterword reflects upon the study's impact and discusses advances in the field since the book was first published. Now in paperback, this classic text is well suited for course use in Russian history, environmental studies, and history of science.