Covering from the late 19th century to the eve of World War II, the book underscores the key role economic development played in America's understanding of Russia and explores its profound effects on U.S. policy.
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.
IntroductionLethargic 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