All the Tsar's Men: Russia's General Staff and the Fate of the Empire, 1898-1914

Overview

All the Tsar’s Men examines how institutional reforms designed to prepare the Imperial Russian Army for the modern battlefield failed to prevent devastating defeats in both the 1905 Russo-Japanese War and World War I. John W. Steinberg argues that the General Staff officers who devised new educational and doctrinal reforms had the experience, dedication, and leadership skills to defend the empire in the new age of warfare but were continually impeded by institutionalized inefficiency and rigid control from their ...

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Overview

All the Tsar’s Men examines how institutional reforms designed to prepare the Imperial Russian Army for the modern battlefield failed to prevent devastating defeats in both the 1905 Russo-Japanese War and World War I. John W. Steinberg argues that the General Staff officers who devised new educational and doctrinal reforms had the experience, dedication, and leadership skills to defend the empire in the new age of warfare but were continually impeded by institutionalized inefficiency and rigid control from their superiors. These officers, he explains, were operating within a command structure unwilling to grant them the autonomy necessary to effect significant reform, which proved disastrous for the army and—ultimately—the empire.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

World History Connected - Jonathan Grant
Steinberg's book is a fine piece of work and it makes a significant contribution to the field.
The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review - David Schimmelpenninck ven der Oye
All the Tsar's Men... should be required reading for anyone interested in Imperial Russian military history.
Journal of Military History - Keith Neilson
Steinberg's book is extremely useful... This book rewards reading.
StrategyWorld.com - A. A. Nofi
An important read for serious students of Russian military history, World War I, and the military staff.
Slavic Review - Joshua Sanborn
All the Tsar's Men will be useful to anyone seeking more detail on the ways that Russian commanders were trained in the last days of the Romanov empire.
Canadian Slavonic Papers - Eugune Miakinkov
A welcome addition to the study of the Russian Imperial Army in the twilight of the Romanov epoch.
Journal of Modern History - Matthew Rendle
Steinberg's book is informative and detailed, makes good use of archival material and contemporary publications, and provides the best analysis available in English of the education and training of this important group of officers before the war.
Europe-Asia Studies - Steve J. Main
This is a well thought out, well structured and well written work, one which does credit both to the author and publisher and is well worth reading.
The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review
All the Tsar's Men... should be required reading for anyone interested in Imperial Russian military history.

— David Schimmelpenninck ven der Oye

World History Connected
Steinberg's book is a fine piece of work and it makes a significant contribution to the field.

— Jonathan Grant

Journal of Military History
Steinberg's book is extremely useful... This book rewards reading.

— Keith Neilson

StrategyWorld.com
An important read for serious students of Russian military history, World War I, and the military staff.

— A. A. Nofi

Slavic Review
All the Tsar's Men will be useful to anyone seeking more detail on the ways that Russian commanders were trained in the last days of the Romanov empire.

— Joshua Sanborn

Canadian Slavonic Papers
A welcome addition to the study of the Russian Imperial Army in the twilight of the Romanov epoch.

— Eugune Miakinkov

Journal of Modern History
Steinberg's book is informative and detailed, makes good use of archival material and contemporary publications, and provides the best analysis available in English of the education and training of this important group of officers before the war.

— Matthew Rendle

Europe-Asia Studies
This is a well thought out, well structured and well written work, one which does credit both to the author and publisher and is well worth reading.

— Steve J. Main

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801895456
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 3/18/2010
  • Pages: 408
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

John W. Steinberg is an associate professor of history at Georgia Southern University. He has contributed to two major edited works on this period, Reforming the Tsar’s Army and The Russo-Japanese War: World War Zero. He was a Kennan Institute Research Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 1996.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 5, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    John W. Steinberg, All the Tsar's Men: Russia's General Staff and the Fate of the Empire, 1898-1914, Woodrow Wilson Center Press, Baltimore, ISBN 978-0-8018-9545-6.

    The new books are frequently advertised as "magisterial" or "definitive" studies but rarely appear as such after a few months in circulation. This fate, I am sure will not befell "All the Tsar's Men." Despite the shortcomings which I list below, the book is so thorough in its coverage and contains so much of the material, which is hardly available outside of the Russian archives that it constitutes an absolutely necessary resource for the scholar of the period.

    In my view, these are the following weaknesses in J. W. Steinberg narration.

    * Steinberg chastises the officers of the Russian General Staff for their "ineptitude"-so obvious in the course of the Russo-Japanese War-and even more costly in terms of lives and materiel in the course of the First World War. What he ignores is that even more glaring errors were committed by all sides in the First World War.

    ** By the newly opened sources, the Bolshevik victory in the Civil War in Russia was led by the second ranking-team of the Russian Imperial General Staff.

    ***Because the author completely ignores Russian, or Mexican Civil War experience, he claims that the cavalry was obsolete by 1914. This was true only in the Western European trenches.

    ****The only real fault, which could be attributed to the "whiz kids" of the RGS was their inability to engage scientists and engineers in their education and planning.

    *****The fractious, court and political intrigue-riddled system of the upper echelons of the Russian civilian power bears much larger guilt in the demise of the Russian Empire than any mistakes of the RGS or inflexibility of its culture. Furthermore, much more modern German Empire collapsed almost simultaneously.

    ******Finally, the author completely avoids the subject of the naval warfare. It has some justification in the fact that the RGS as most of the staffs of its day did not appreciate and could not achieve the integrated performance of the Army-Navy contingents.

    //Full text of this review and other reviews could be read on the author's blog oldpossumsbookreview.blogspot.com

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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