Friday, January 15, 2010

Imperial Russia after 1861

Problems in European Civilization: Imperial Russia after 1861, 1965

Pretty interesting read here, although probably not for most readers, or even historians not interested in the late nineteenth century. Even within that the work has a bit of major clunkiness--for one it's a collection of related articles rather than a unified analysis, making for some superficial insights and mixed quality. One section where it went from a secondary analysis to temporary indepth quotation of a primary source was particularly jarring. Even more problematic, but not surprising for the time it was written, tis is a very tradition and top down type of history, focusing on a very small elite and missing a lot of structural cultural nuances.

Still, it's an effective primer on some of the main historical issues in late tsarist Russia, as well as some of the key historiographical debates concerning the same. Particularly good at chartering the wide variety, rhetoric and major concerns of the liberal and revolutionary movements in Russia.

Similar to and better than: Marshall Poe's The Russian Moment in World History
Similar to and worse than: Isaiah Berlin's Four Russian Thinkers

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