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Modernization from the Other Shore: American Intellectuals and the Romance of Russian Development / Edition 1

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Cambridge 2004 Hard cover New ed. New in new dust jacket. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. With dust jacket. 399 p. Audience: General/trade. 3C80A

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Overview

From the late nineteenth century to the eve of World War II, America's experts on Russia watched as Russia and the Soviet Union embarked on a course of rapid industrialization. Captivated by the idea of modernization, diplomats, journalists, and scholars across the political spectrum rationalized the enormous human cost of this path to progress. In a fascinating examination of this crucial era, David Engerman underscores the key role economic development played in America's understanding of Russia and explores its profound effects on U.S. policy.

American intellectuals from George Kennan to Samuel Harper to Calvin Hoover understood Russian events in terms of national character. Many of them used stereotypes of Russian passivity, backwardness, and fatalism to explain the need for--and the costs of--Soviet economic development. These costs included devastating famines that left millions starving while the government still exported grain.

This book is a stellar example of the new international history that seamlessly blends cultural and intellectual currents with policymaking and foreign relations. It offers valuable insights into the role of cultural differences and the shaping of economic policy for developing nations even today.

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Editorial Reviews

Wall Street Journal

Readers of Mr. Engerman's book will be struck by parallels to current globalization debates between ascendant universalists and skeptical particularists.
— Bertrand M. Patenaude

Foreign Affairs

This fascinating, full-blown account of how Russia was reflected in the American mind ranges from the late 1800s, across the 1917 Revolution, and into the harsh, hopeful, tragic assault of modernization in the 1930s...Engerman digs deep into decades of published and unpublished writings by a broad spectrum of Russia experts and traces with skill their impact on government.
— Robert Legvold

Anders Stephanson
Based on extraordinary archival research, Engerman's gripping study is historical scholarship at its most impressive.
Thomas Bender
David Engerman has written an original and imaginatively conceived inquiry into cultural perception as a form of social power--and moral challenge. Deftly weaving together Russian and American history, he recounts how U.S. foreign policy intellectuals and experts of all political persuasions allowed persistent cultural stereotypes and universalistic visions of the future to justify unimaginable suffering and death in Russia. This timely and important book speaks urgently not only to haunting moral questions of the century past but also to those in the present.
Frank Ninkovich
An original, highly stimulating, and beautifully written exploration of the cultural dimension of U.S.-Russian relations. By placing American perceptions of Russia in a broad historical and conceptual context, Engerman recaptures outlooks and frameworks that were at one time central to all serious thinking about international relations. In today's era of globalization, the problems of universalism and particularism that lie at the core of his account are every bit as relevant for us as they were to his historical protagonists.
Abbott Gleason
An impressive work in a number of ways, deeply grounded in primary sources, and exceptionally well written, David Engerman's book is a treasure trove for students of Russian-American relations.
Wall Street Journal - Bertrand M. Patenaude
Readers of Mr. Engerman's book will be struck by parallels to current globalization debates between ascendant universalists and skeptical particularists.
Foreign Affairs - Robert Legvold
This fascinating, full-blown account of how Russia was reflected in the American mind ranges from the late 1800s, across the 1917 Revolution, and into the harsh, hopeful, tragic assault of modernization in the 1930s...Engerman digs deep into decades of published and unpublished writings by a broad spectrum of Russia experts and traces with skill their impact on government.
Wall Street Journal
Readers of Mr. Engerman's book will be struck by parallels to current globalization debates between ascendant universalists and skeptical particularists.
— Bertrand M. Patenaude
Foreign Affairs
This fascinating, full-blown account of how Russia was reflected in the American mind ranges from the late 1800s, across the 1917 Revolution, and into the harsh, hopeful, tragic assault of modernization in the 1930s...Engerman digs deep into decades of published and unpublished writings by a broad spectrum of Russia experts and traces with skill their impact on government.
— Robert Legvold
Foreign Affairs
This fascinating, full-blown account of how Russia was reflected in the American mind ranges from the late 1800s, across the 1917 Revolution, and into the harsh, hopeful, tragic assault of modernization in the 1930s. What began with the travel adventures of people such as the senior George Kennan by the turn of the century widened to include the founders of Russian studies in the United States, Archibald Cary Coolidge and Samuel Harper, as well as their students and wealthy well-connected patrons such as Charles Crane. They, the author argues, applied to the Russian autocracy and peasantry stereotypes of national character as surely as did their less expert forerunners and then exported these images into the Wilson, Coolidge, and Harding administrations. Their intellectual successors carried on, idealizing the modernizing model they expected the Soviet Union to be and closing their eyes to the human cost. Engerman digs deep into decades of published and unpublished writings by a broad spectrum of Russia experts and traces with skill their impact on government.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674011519
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 11/30/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 410
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 1.25 (d)

Meet the Author

David C. Engerman is Assistant Professor of History at Brandeis University.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: From the Other Shore

Part I: Autocratic Russia, Lethargic Russians

1. An Empire of Climate

2. Endurance without Limit

3. Studying Our Nearest Oriental Neighbor

Part II: Revolutionary Russia, Instinctual Russians

4. Little above the Brute

5. Sheep without a Shepherd

6. Feeding the Mute Millions of Muzhiks

Part III: Modernizing Russia, Backward Russians

7. New Society, New Scholars

8. The Romance of Economic Development

9. Starving Itself Great

10. Scratch a Soviet and You'll Find a Russian

Epilogue: Russian Expertise in an Age of Social Science

Sources

Abbreviations

Notes

Acknowledgments

Index

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