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A Military History of Russia: From Ivan the Terrible to the War in Chechnya / Edition 1

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Overview

This book brings to light Russia's undeservedly-obscure military past, rectifying the tendency of American and Western military historians to neglect the Russian side of things. Russia, as both a Western and non-Western society, challenges our thinking about Western military superiority. Russia has always struggled with backwardness in comparison with more developed powers, at some times more successfully than others. The imperatives of survival in a competitive international environment have, moreover, produced in Russian society a high degree of militarization. While including operational and tactical detail that appeals to military history enthusiasts, this book simultaneously integrates military history into the broader themes of Russian history and draws comparisons to developments in Europe. The book also challenges old assumptions about the Russian military. Russian military history cannot be summed up simply in a single stock phrase, whether perennial incompetence or success only through stolid, stoic defense; it also shows numerous examples of striking offensive successes.

Stone traces Russia's fascinating military history, and its long struggle to master Western military technology without Western social and political institutions. It covers the military dimensions of the emergence of Muscovy, the disastrous reign of Ivan the Terrible, and the subsequent creation of the new Romanov dynasty. It deals with Russia's emergence as a great power under Peter the Great and culminating in the defeat of Napoleon. After that triumph, the book argues, Russia's social and economic stagnation undermined its enormous military power and brought catastrophic defeat in the Crimean War. The book then covers imperial Russia's long struggle to reform its military machine, with mixed results in the Russo-Japanese War and World War I. The Russian Revolution created a new Soviet Russia, but this book shows the continuity across that divide. The Soviet Union's interwar innovations and its harrowing experience in World War II owed much to imperial Russian precedents. A superpower after the war, the Soviet Union's military might was purchased at the expense of continuing economic backwardness. Paradoxically, the very militarization intended to provide security instead destroyed the Soviet Union, leaving a new Russia behind the West economically. Just as there was a great deal of continuity after 1917, this book demonstrates how the new Russian military has inherited many of its current problems from its Soviet predecessor. The price that Russia has paid for its continued existence as a great power, therefore, is the overwhelming militarization of its society and economy, a situation it continues to struggle with.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Stone does an artful job of recounting over 500 years of Russian military campaigns and explaining the complex and reciprocal relationships between the military and society in Russia, as well as Russia's role in Western military history (e.g., the triumph against Napoleon), enacted at the expense of its economic and civic gains. He clarifies Russia's place in the ebb and flow of alliances among emerging nation states in Europe. Every Russian history written in the past 20 years contains much of the same information that Stone presents, but he has a notable ability to clarify military history and thereby Russian history generally….[h]is style will catch the eye of students and casual readers. Recommended for public, high school, and college libraries."

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Library Journal

"Stone provides a relatively brief but commendably well-balanced survey of Russian military history from the earliest years of the Kievan Rus state to the present. Whereas most studies of the Russian military concentrate on the events of the past two centuries, this book offers a cogent account of earlier years, including military innovations and wars during the time of Ivan the Terrible and the complicated military history of Peter the Great's reign. Moreover, the author succeeds admirably in his intention not only to include descriptions of the major battles, campaigns, and wars fought by the Russians, but also to discuss the interrelationship of military affairs with the development of the Russian state and society….The book can be read with great profit by anyone interested in Russian military history. Recommended. All levels/libraries."

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Choice

"This textbook - the first to appear in forty years - should prove invaluable to students, while specialists, too, will learn a great deal."

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SEER

"[A] first-rate, crystal-clear history of five centuries of Russian military operations, from which I have learned a great deal."

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The International History Review

Library Journal
Stone (Russian history, Kansas State Univ.; Hammer and Rifle: The Militarization of the Soviet Union, 1926-1933) does an artful job of recounting over 500 years of Russian military campaigns and explaining the complex and reciprocal relationships between the military and society in Russia, as well as Russia's role in Western military history (e.g., the triumph against Napoleon), enacted at the expense of its economic and civic gains. He clarifies Russia's place in the ebb and flow of alliances among emerging nation states in Europe. Every Russian history written in the past 20 years contains much of the same information that Stone presents, but he has a notable ability to clarify military history and thereby Russian history generally. His acknowledged simplifications will not thrill the serious historian of Russia, but his style will catch the eye of students and casual readers. Recommended for public, high school, and college libraries.-Harry Willems, Park City P.L., KS Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275985028
  • Publisher: Greenwood Publishing Group, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/30/2006
  • Series: Praeger Security International Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 1,024,280
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

DAVID R. STONE is Associate Professor of Russian history at Kansas State University. His first book Hammer and Rifle: The Militarization of the Soviet Union, 1926-1933 , was a History Book Club selection, winner of the Historical Society's inaugural Best First Book prize, and co-winner of the Shulman Prize from the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies. The author of numerous articles on Russian and Soviet military and diplomatic history, Stone is currently working on a study of Trotsky's role in the creation and development of the Red Army.

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Table of Contents

1 The rise of Muscovy 1
2 The time of troubles 19
3 The early Romanovs 30
4 Peter the great 44
5 After Peter 61
6 Catherine the great 76
7 The Napoleonic wars 90
8 Repression and defeat 110
9 Reform and recovery 126
10 The Russo-Japanese War 137
11 World War I 155
12 The Soviet experiment 176
13 The great patriotic war 191
14 The Soviet superpower 218
15 The emergence of a New Russia 236
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