Archive for the ‘Great War’ Category

New in Books: Engineer of Revolutionary Russia

Thursday, January 13th, 2011

Although the broad history of Russia’s Great War & Revolution has been told many times, one infrequently examined (but critical) aspect of that epic story concerns the plight of science and technology during Eurasia’s whirlwind of change. Anthony Heywood’s new study, Engineer of Revolutionary Russia: Iurii V. Lomonosov and the Railways sheds new light on this understudied chapter of Russia’s past through an examination of the life and work of one of the country’s most distinguished and controversial scientists and technicians.

An innovative railway engineer, key administrator, and occasional diplomat, Iurii Lomonosov fell from grace with the new Soviet state following his refusal to return to the USSR from an assignment in Germany (1923-1927). Thereafter, he traveled abroad in the United States and Europe where his professional activities included a research post at the California Institute of Technology, collaborative projects with the Nobel Prize-winning physicist Petr Kapitsa, and work for the British War Office during the Second World War.

In chronicling the fascinating story of Lomonosov’s travails, Engineer of Revolutionary Russia draws attention to a number of important themes in the history of Russian science and technology including the fate of the country’s scientific diaspora, the human dimensions of East-West technology transfer, and the ever-present tension between science, technology, and politics.

To purchase the book at a 10% discount directly from the publisher, simply click on the title above.


New in Books: Images of the Imperial Family during the First World War

Friday, August 13th, 2010

Russian-speaking visitors to may be interested to learn of the recent release of an important new book “Трагическая эротика”: образы императорской семьи в годы Первой мировой войны. (“Tragic Erotica: Images of the Imperial Family during the First World War) by Boris Kolonitskii. Kolonitskii is Professor of History at the European University in St. Petersburg, Russia and co-author of Interpreting the Russian Revolution: The Language and Symbols of 1917.

Tragic-EroticaTragic Erotica” examines the representations and war-time activities of Tsar Nicholas II and members of the Imperial family that aimed to foster popular adoration and a sense of patriotism among their subjects. The book draws upon a wide variety of sources, including petitions, diaries, contemporary correspondence, and the criminal proceedings of individuals accused of insulting the autocratic family.

From the publisher’s description:

Верноподданным российского императора следовало не только почитать своего государя, но и любить его. Император и члены его семьи должны были своими действиями пробуждать народную любовь. Этому служили тщательно продуманные ритуалы царских поездок и церемоний награждения, официальные речи и неформальные встречи, широко распространявшиеся портреты и патриотические стихи. В годы Первой мировой войны пробуждение народной любви стало важнейшим элементом монархически-патриотической мобилизации российского общества. Б.И.Колоницкий изучает, как пытались повысить свою популярность члены императорской семьи – Николай II, императрица Александра Федоровна, Верховный главнокомандующий великий князь Николай Николаевич, вдовствующая императрица Мария Федоровна. Автор исследует и восприятие образов Романовых. Среди многочисленных источников, на основе которых написана книга, – петиции, дневники и письма современников, материалы уголовных дел против людей, обвиненных в заочном оскорблении членов царской семьи.


New in Books: All the Tsar’s Men

Sunday, August 1st, 2010

In addition to providing information regarding progress on the RGWR edited volumes and alerting visitors to updates on this site, the News section is intended to help publicize and support the work being undertaken by academic historians.

From time to time, we’ll be posting announcements regarding new books and on-line resources relating, broadly, to the history of Russia’s Great War, Revolution, and Civil War. This is one of those times. is pleased to note the release of John Steinberg’s All the Tsar’s Men: Russia’s General Staff and the Fate of the Empire, 1898–1914, recently published by Johns Hopkins University Press in conjunction with the Woodrow Wilson Center Press.

From the publisher’s site:

All the Tsar’s Men examines how institutional reforms designed to prepare the Imperial Russian Army for the modern battlefield failed to prevent devastating defeats in both the 1905 Russo-Japanese War and World War I. John W. Steinberg argues that the General Staff officers who devised new educational and doctrinal reforms had the experience, dedication, and leadership skills to defend the empire in the new age of warfare but were continually impeded by institutionalized inefficiency and rigid control from their superiors. These officers, he explains, were operating within a command structure unwilling to grant them the autonomy necessary to effect significant reform, which proved disastrous for the army and—ultimately— the empire.”

Early last month, Steinberg conducted an extended telephone interview with Marshal Poe for the latter’s terrific New Books in History website. To listen to an MP3 audio recording of the interview, click here.