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.
Based on extraordinary archival research, Engerman's gripping study is historical scholarship at its most impressive.
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.
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.
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.
Readers of Mr. Engerman's book will be struck by parallels to current globalization debates between ascendant universalists and skeptical particularists.
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.
- 2004, Winner of the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize
- 2002, Joint winner of the Akira Iriye International History Book Award
- 410 pages
- 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
Sorry, there was an error adding the item to your shopping bag.
Sorry, your session has expired. Please refresh your browser's tab.