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From the Publisher"David Laitin's book is replete with relevant statistics and theoretical interpretations of an aspect of post-Soviet reality likely to affect politics in the region for decades to come."—Choice
"A remarkable synthesis of data and history, converted into powerful theoretical insight, this book is social science at its best. David Laitin . . . takes the reader deeper into the portentous, complex issue of Russians in the 'near abroad' than anyone has before. . . . He constructs a rich but uncluttered account of Russian speakers living in foreign lands. . . . The theory is spare, accessible, and genuinely powerful, illuminating the subject in highly original ways and suggesting outcomes, including disturbing ones, missed by more impressionistic studies."—Foreign Affairs
"This wonderful book . . . integrates disparate types of analysis that are rarely found together: broad gauged theoretical development, 'thick' ethnographic case studies, and advanced statistical techniques. Laitin's work, moreover, makes creative use of both rational choice and historical institutionalist models, despite their generally competing nature. In short, the book makes an important contribution to political science that should be of interest to a wide range of comparativists."—Cal Clark, Auburn University, Perspectives on Political Science. Fall, 1999.
"David Laitin has been responsible for some of the most innovative studies of the role of language in structuring ethnic identities and the conditions under which communities can 'shift' language use. . . . This is a fruit of detailed fieldwork. . . . From a rich empirical base, Laitin draws a number of interesting and provocative conclusions. . . . Identity in Formation offers important new contributions to the debate about post-Soviet states, nations, and identity formation."—International Affairs
"This very important book offers evidence on this topic and much else. It is a pathbreaking analysis of nationalism and identity, a masterpiece by a major scholar at the height of his powers."—John Hall, Canadian Journal of Political Science
"A book of remarkable theoretical scope and empirical richness, one which stands as a model of how social scientific inquiry ought to be conducted. . . A landmark in scholarship on nationalism and on the former Soviet Union more specifically. The boldness of its assertions, its dazzling design and execution, and the wealth of stimulating ideas found within it make it a truly outstanding achievement."—Mark R. Beissinger, University of Wisconsin, American Journal of Sociology. July 1999.
"Laitin combines a career's worth of theoretical insight with the results of extensive, multiple-method research in four successor states of the USSR. The book will be at once stimulating, provocative, and 'must reading' both for students of nation-building and for students of post-Communism."—George Breslauer, University of California at Berkeley
"David Laitin sets a new standard for the comparative study of the post-Soviet states. The book employs a unique blend of methods—anthropological digging, survey research, and formal modeling—to reach clear and unsettling conclusions about national identity after Communism."—Timothy J. Colton, Director, Davis Center for Russian Studies, Harvard University