The end of Tsarist Russia The march to World War I and revolution

D. C. B. Lieven

Book - 2015

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Subjects
Published
New York, New York : Viking [2015]
©2015
Language
English
Item Description
"First published in Great Britain under the title 'Towards the flame: empire, war, and the end of tsarist Russia' by Allan Lane, an imprint of Penguin Random House UK"--title-page verso.
Physical Description
428 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages [371]-417) and index.
ISBN
9780670025589
0670025585
Main Author
D. C. B. Lieven (author)
  • A world of empires
  • The Russian Empire
  • The decision makers
  • The emergence of the Triple Entente, 1904-9
  • Crisis follows crisis, 1909-13
  • 1914
  • The July Crisis
  • War, revolution, and empire.
Review by Choice Reviews

This engaging book offers a history of Russia's road to WWI, an analysis of that war from a Russian angle, and an introduction to the international origins and consequences of the Russian Revolution.  Lieven (Cambridge) emphasizes that WWI was "first and foremost an eastern European conflict" spawned amidst the shifting fortunes of the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, German, and Russian empires.  The fundamental issues at stake, however, were common to the "world of empires" in the early 20th century, in particular the tension between imperialism and nationalism.  Accordingly, Russia "was neither as unique nor as exotic as either its admirers or its detractors claimed," and it and other Continental empires must be studied alongside their maritime counterparts.  Russia's geopolitical interests in the (Turkish) Straits, Lieven reminds, were akin to US interests in Panama and British interests in Suez.  Pan-Slav sentiments, meanwhile, were comparable to those put forth on behalf of Anglo-Saxon and Germanic solidarity in increasingly vocal and influential national newspapers.  While emphasizing structural contexts, Lieven provides intricate analysis of diplomatic politics to show how in the summer of 1914, "fewer than fifty individuals, all of them men, made the decisions that took their countries to war." Summing Up: Highly recommended. Most levels/libraries. --M. A. Soderstrom, Aurora University Mark A. Soderstrom Aurora University http://dx.doi.org/10.5860/CHOICE.193995 Copyright 2014 American Library Association.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

"As much as anything, World War I turned on the fate of Ukraine." With this audacious statement, Lieven (history, Trinity Univ., Russia Against Napoleon; Towards the Flame) begins an intriguing and well-written history of World War I and the Russian Revolution of 1917. Based predominately on materials from seven Russian archives, Lieven's key premise is that the Great War was "the source and origin of most of the catastrophes that subsequently afflicted twentieth century Russia." He succeeds in supporting this statement and also reinforces other premises, such as the theory that World Wars I and II were both, essentially, eastern European wars. This results in a fascinating reappraisal of the place of Russia and the former Soviet Union in both conflicts. VERDICT Lieven's writing is clear and concise without being overly pedantic, which results in an engrossing read for anyone, academic or layman, with an interest in World War I, Russian history, eastern Europe, or the Russian Revolution. [See Prepub Alert, 2/23/15.]—John Sandstrom, New Mexico State Univ. Lib., Las Cruces [Page 94]. (c) Copyright 2015 Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Using Russian and Soviet archives only recently opened to Western historians, Lieven (Russia Against Napoleon) constructs a Russian history of the years leading up to WWI and the Russian Revolution, arguing that, contrary to Western European sensibilities, WWI was primarily a conflict between two looming Eastern hegemons: Russia and Germany. Moving from broader geopolitical analysis and historical trends all the way down to a "worm's-eye view" of history that focuses on the actions of a small cadre of influential decision makers in July and August 1914, Lieven charts Russia's burgeoning "Second World" imperialism—a rise inevitably complicated by modernity and mass politics. Already humiliated by losing the Russo-Japanese War (1904–1905) and weakened by the 1905 revolution, Russia was ill-prepared for the demands of the 20th century. Lieven has a gift for illuminating the intricacies and complexities of tsarist Russia, but in doing so, he assumes a familiarity with Russian history likely beyond the casual reader, and his dry prose does little to support or engage novices. Nonetheless, Lieven's uniquely Russian take on these decisive years stands as a significant work of scholarship. Maps & illus. Agent: Natasha Fairweather, United Agents (U.K.). (Aug.) [Page ]. Copyright 2015 PWxyz LLC

Review by Publisher Summary 1

The award-winning author of Russia Against Napoleon outlines a fresh interpretation of the linked origins of World War I and the Russian Revolution, demonstrating how contemporary issues were already crucial elements in the prewar era. 25,000 first printing.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"'As much as anything, the First World War turned on the fate of Ukraine...' The decision to go to war in 1914 had catastrophic consequences for Russia. The result was revolution, civil war and famine in 1917-20, followed by decades of Communist rule. Dominic Lieven's powerful and original new book, based on exhaustive and unprecedented study in Russian and many other foreign archives, explains why this suicidal decision was made and explores the world of the men who made it, thereby consigning their entire class to death or exile and making their country the victim of a uniquely terrible political experiment under Lenin and Stalin. Epic in detail and scope, and unique in its perspective, THE END OF TSARIST RUSSIA is a gripping study of why the Russian Revolution happened and why it had such fateful consequences for both Russia and Europe. THE END OF TSARIST RUSSIA is about far more than Russia. By looking at the origins and results of the First World War from a mostly Russian angle, it offers a radically different view of why Europe descended into disaster. Dominic Lieven's interpretation of Europe's great war and Russia's revolution will overturn assumptions about events that still have major implications for world history down to the present day"--Front flap.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Outlines a fresh interpretation of the linked origins of World War I and the Russian Revolution, demonstrating how contemporary issues were already crucial elements in the prewar era.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

Analyzing the causes of the end of Tsarist reign and the beginning of the Russian Revolution, the author of this study takes a Russian rather than Western perspective, offering both a Russian history of WWI and an international history of the Russian Revolution. Arguing that the war was first and foremost an Eastern European conflict, the author draws on Russian archives to emphasize the role of Ukraine and the factors behind the decisions of key political figures in Russia. The book includes a wealth of b&w historical photos and maps. Annotation ©2015 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com)

Review by Publisher Summary 5

An Economist Best Book of the YearA Financial Times Best Book of the YearWinner of the the Pushkin House Russian Book PrizeFinalist for the Lionel Gelber PrizeAn Amazon Best Book of the Month (History)One of the world’s leading scholars offers a fresh interpretation of the linked origins of World War I and the Russian Revolution"Lieven has a double gift: first, for harvesting details to convey the essence of an era and, second, for finding new, startling, and clarifying elements in familiar stories. This is history with a heartbeat, and it could not be more engrossing."—Foreign AffairsWorld War I and the Russian Revolution together shaped the twentieth century in profound ways. In The End of Tsarist Russia, acclaimed scholar Dominic Lieven connects for the first time the two events, providing both a history of the First World War’s origins from a Russian perspective and an international history of why the revolution happened. Based on exhaustive work in seven Russian archives as well as many non-Russian sources, Dominic Lieven’s work is about far more than just Russia. By placing the crisis of empire at its core, Lieven links World War I to the sweep of twentieth-century global history. He shows how contemporary hot issues such as the struggle for Ukraine were already crucial elements in the run-up to 1914. By incorporating into his book new approaches and comparisons, Lieven tells the story of war and revolution in a way that is truly original and thought-provoking.

Review by Publisher Summary 6

One of the world’s leading scholars offers a fresh interpretation of the linked origins of World War I and the Russian RevolutionWorld War I and the Russian Revolution together shaped the twentieth century in profound ways. InThe End of Tsarist Russia, acclaimed scholar Dominic Lieven connects for the first time the two events, providing both a history of the First World War’s origins from a Russian perspective and an international history of why the revolution happened.Based on exhaustive work in seven Russian archives as well as many non-Russian sources, Dominic Lieven’s work is about far more than just Russia. By placing the crisis of empire at its core, Lieven links World War I to the sweep of twentieth-century global history. He shows how contemporary hot issues such as the struggle for Ukraine were already crucial elements in the run-up to 1914.By incorporating into his book new approaches and comparisons, Lieven tells the story of war and revolution in a way that is truly original and thought-provoking.