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The End of Tsarist Russia: The March to…
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The End of Tsarist Russia: The March to World War I and Revolution

by Dominic Lieven

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The author writes that World War I was first and foremost an Eastern European conflict, and that to really comprehend the causes that led to it, we need to understand the role Russia played in it. This makes perfect sense, but most histories are thin on its history and the factors that contributed. That's where this book is a great addition to the history of the war. Levin explores the influences of imperialism and modernization, especially as it relates to Russia, but includes information that was previously unavailable. (The Russian records he had access to have since been withdrawn from public access.) He explains Russia's needs for ocean access (via the Black Sea) as well as its desire to unite the Slav peoples under their charge, but also he aggressive German politics and declining influence of Austria that complicated Eastern European politics. In addition, Russia had to deal with Japan on its own eastern edge, and maintaining such a large empire was made difficult by its lack of modernity.

It's a well-thought and reasoned exploration of the factors as it relates to Russia. The problem is that it's also very tedious. It requires a closer reading than I found myself able to fully provide, and I ended up skimming some sections. He also offers some very brief comparisons at the end to the global political situation today, although it's so brief and doesn't go into much detail. Still, for those intimately interested in the causes of such a tragic conflict that consumed so many lives (because WWII was essentially a continuation of the conflict and unresolved problems of 1914), this is a smart and scholarly book that will give much food for thought. ( )
  J.Green | Nov 22, 2016 |
This a thorough take on an insanely complicated period. I am trying to bone up on pre-revolutionary Russia, a blind-spot in my education to date. The book really slogs along until events start to pickup in the months leading to the outbreak of war. ( )
  kcshankd | Sep 26, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0670025585, Hardcover)

One of the world’s leading scholars offers a fresh interpretation of the linked origins of World War I and the Russian Revolution
 
World 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 06 Jul 2015 02:41:56 -0400)

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