Catalogue


The grand strategy of the Russian Empire : 1650-1831 /
John P. LeDonne.
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2004.
description
xv, 261 p.
ISBN
0195161009 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New York : Oxford University Press, 2004.
isbn
0195161009 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
5068424
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2004-09-01:
LeDonne (Davis Center, Harvard Univ.) gives us a groundbreaking geopolitical study chronologically defined by the long struggle with "Moscow's main rival and enemy, the Polish Empire." His analyses of Russia's military, economic, and cultural history seek to induce the virtual existence, or paradigm, of a "grand strategy." This "logic" may have guided Russian rulers through the formation, establishment, and consolidation of hegemony over what Sir Halford Mackinder defined in 1919 as the Eurasian Heartland. LeDonne organizes his study by triads: readers will encounter the three theaters, the three principles, and the three chronological phases of Russian expansion, the last providing the book's organization into three parts of three chapters each. Fortunately, the triads are helpful rather than Procrustean, and the book is rich in knowledge and insight--a godsend for lecturers and a gold mine for graduate students in search of dissertation topics. To appreciate LeDonne's achievement, readers should have not only a good command of Russia's history, but also of Russia's Islamic, Catholic, and Protestant neighbors. LeDonne admires Edward N. Luttwak's The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire (CH, Jun'77), and his own study may prove to be just as controversial as its model. ^BSumming Up: Essential. Graduate students and faculty. E. A. Cole Grand Valley State University
Reviews
Review Quotes
"After reading this book no student of Tsarist history will ever be able to think quite the same way about Imperial Russia. This masterful analysis reminds us that the Russian empire was not acquired in a fit of absent-mindedness but rather was conscious work of generations of statesmen andsoldiers. Tying together diplomacy, politics, strategy, and economics, LeDonne uncovers the principles that shaped this empire building and their evolution to the high point of Tsarist power in Eurasia and lays bare the inner mainsprings of Russia's abiding imperial vocation."--Stephen Blank,Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College
"After reading this book no student of Tsarist history will ever be ableto think quite the same way about Imperial Russia. This masterful analysisreminds us that the Russian empire was not acquired in a fit ofabsent-mindedness but rather was conscious work of generations of statesmen andsoldiers. Tying together diplomacy, politics, strategy, and economics, LeDonneuncovers the principles that shaped this empire building and their evolution tothe high point of Tsarist power in Eurasia and lays bare the inner mainspringsof Russia's abiding imperial vocation."--Stephen Blank, Strategic StudiesInstitute, United States Army War College
"A groundbreaking geopolitical study the book is rich in knowledge and insight-a godsend for lecturers and a gold mine for graduate students in search of dissertation topics."-- Choice
"A groundbreaking geopolitical study the book is rich in knowledge andinsight-a godsend for lecturers and a gold mine for graduate students in searchof dissertation topics."-- Choice
"...a provocative book"--Herbert H. Kaplan, The Russian Review
"A valuable work, both for its treatment of historical details and for its thesis that a long-lasting grand strategy existed. Whether other scholars of this period accept or reject this thesis, they would be foolish to ignore it."--Journal of Slavic and Military Studies
"A valuable work, both for its treatment of historical details and for itsthesis that a long-lasting grand strategy existed. Whether other scholars ofthis period accept or reject this thesis, they would be foolish to ignoreit."--Journal of Slavic and Military Studies
"Capping many years of original research, writing, and reflection, this original and challenging interpretation goes a long way in explaining not only the past role but also the present problems of Russia's imperial legacy. Readers will find much useful information and many stimulating ideasthat throw a novel light on the history of Eurasia over the last four centuries."-Marc Raeff, Columbia University
"Capping many years of original research, writing, and reflection, thisoriginal and challenging interpretation goes a long way in explaining not onlythe past role but also the present problems of Russia's imperial legacy.Readers will find much useful information and many stimulating ideas that throwa novel light on the history of Eurasia over the last four centuries."-MarcRaeff, Columbia University
does contain some interesting ideas
"LeDonne's compelling book is erudite and powerfully argued. LeDonne argues that Russia has had for centuries a Grand Strategy whose aim has been to control the Eurasian Heartland. This blunt and abstract vision will not please everyone. LeDonne's work is neither traditional diplomatic historynor new international history. But it is a perspective that needs to be debated, assimilated, thought through. The implications may be of great importance and not just to historians."-Daniel Orlovsky, Southern Methodist University
"LeDonne's compelling book is erudite and powerfully argued. LeDonneargues that Russia has had for centuries a Grand Strategy whose aim has been tocontrol the Eurasian Heartland. This blunt and abstract vision will not pleaseeveryone. LeDonne's work is neither traditional diplomatic history nor newinternational history. But it is a perspective that needs to be debated,assimilated, thought through. The implications may be of great importance andnot just to historians."-Daniel Orlovsky, Southern Methodist University
"LeDonne's work constitutes a scholarly tour de force, examining in depth the complex interplay among ends, ways, and means in shaping Russia's transition from insular polity to far-flung empire. The author analyzes the roles played over nearly two centuries by land, resources, ideology, andpolicy in meeting the requirements of offensive intent and design. In addition to viewing the evolution of the military means within their full grand strategic context, another of LeDonne's major contributions is his treatment of the role that geography and locale played in the evolution of thelarger design."-Bruce W. Menning, United States Army Command and General Staff College
"LeDonne's work constitutes a scholarly tour de force, examining in depththe complex interplay among ends, ways, and means in shaping Russia's transitionfrom insular polity to far-flung empire. The author analyzes the roles playedover nearly two centuries by land, resources, ideology, and policy in meetingthe requirements of offensive intent and design. In addition to viewing theevolution of the military means within their full grand strategic context,another of LeDonne's major contributions is his treatment of the role thatgeography and locale played in the evolution of the larger design."-Bruce W.Menning, United States Army Command and General Staff College
"LeDonne's work does provide a useful analytical framework for understanding Russian foreign policy across the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, offering a sufficient level of detail while remaining accessible to the non-specialist. This book would be a welcome addition to a library of works onRussia or strategic thought."--Captain William H. Mengel, Instructor, Department of History, US Military Academy
"LeDonne's work does provide a useful analytical framework forunderstanding Russian foreign policy across the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries,offering a sufficient level of detail while remaining accessible to thenon-specialist. This book would be a welcome addition to a library of works onRussia or strategic thought."--Captain William H. Mengel, Instructor, Departmentof History, US Military Academy
"Superb treatment of Russia's strategic geography. In analyzing the implications of terrain features, riverine systems, trade routes, populations densities, and the like, LeDonne is both erudite and impressive, surpassing any other author I have read on these subjects in anylanguage."--Journal of Modern History
"Superb treatment of Russia's strategic geography. In analyzing the implications of terrain features, riverine systems, trade routes, populations densities, and the like, LeDonne is both erudite and impressive, surpassing any other author I have read on these subjects in any language."--Journal of Modern History "LeDonne's work does provide a useful analytical framework for understanding Russian foreign policy across the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, offering a sufficient level of detail while remaining accessible to the non-specialist. This book would be a welcome addition to a library of works on Russia or strategic thought."--Captain William H. Mengel, Instructor, Department of History, US Military Academy "...a provocative book"--Herbert H. Kaplan, The Russian Review "A valuable work, both for its treatment of historical details and for its thesis that a long-lasting grand strategy existed. Whether other scholars of this period accept or reject this thesis, they would be foolish to ignore it."--Journal of Slavic and Military Studies "After reading this book no student of Tsarist history will ever be able to think quite the same way about Imperial Russia. This masterful analysis reminds us that the Russian empire was not acquired in a fit of absent-mindedness but rather was conscious work of generations of statesmen and soldiers. Tying together diplomacy, politics, strategy, and economics, LeDonne uncovers the principles that shaped this empire building and their evolution to the high point of Tsarist power in Eurasia and lays bare the inner mainsprings of Russia's abiding imperial vocation."--Stephen Blank, Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College "A groundbreaking geopolitical study the book is rich in knowledge and insight-a godsend for lecturers and a gold mine for graduate students in search of dissertation topics."-- Choice "LeDonne's compelling book is erudite and powerfully argued. LeDonne argues that Russia has had for centuries a Grand Strategy whose aim has been to control the Eurasian Heartland. This blunt and abstract vision will not please everyone. LeDonne's work is neither traditional diplomatic history nor new international history. But it is a perspective that needs to be debated, assimilated, thought through. The implications may be of great importance and not just to historians."-Daniel Orlovsky, Southern Methodist University "LeDonne's work constitutes a scholarly tour de force, examining in depth the complex interplay among ends, ways, and means in shaping Russia's transition from insular polity to far-flung empire. The author analyzes the roles played over nearly two centuries by land, resources, ideology, and policy in meeting the requirements of offensive intent and design. In addition to viewing the evolution of the military means within their full grand strategic context, another of LeDonne's major contributions is his treatment of the role that geography and locale played in the evolution of the larger design."-Bruce W. Menning, United States Army Command and General Staff College "Capping many years of original research, writing, and reflection, this original and challenging interpretation goes a long way in explaining not only the past role but also the present problems of Russia's imperial legacy. Readers will find much useful information and many stimulating ideas that throw a novel light on the history of Eurasia over the last four centuries."-Marc Raeff, Columbia University
"Superb treatment of Russia's strategic geography. In analyzing the implications of terrain features, riverine systems, trade routes, populations densities, and the like, LeDonne is both erudite and impressive, surpassing any other author I have read on these subjects in any language."-- Journal of Modern History "LeDonne's work does provide a useful analytical framework for understanding Russian foreign policy across the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, offering a sufficient level of detail while remaining accessible to the non-specialist. This book would be a welcome addition to a library of works on Russia or strategic thought."--Captain William H. Mengel, Instructor, Department of History, US Military Academy "...a provocative book"--Herbert H. Kaplan, The Russian Review "A valuable work, both for its treatment of historical details and for its thesis that a long-lasting grand strategy existed. Whether other scholars of this period accept or reject this thesis, they would be foolish to ignore it."-- Journal of Slavic and Military Studies "After reading this book no student of Tsarist history will ever be able to think quite the same way about Imperial Russia. This masterful analysis reminds us that the Russian empire was not acquired in a fit of absent-mindedness but rather was conscious work of generations of statesmen and soldiers. Tying together diplomacy, politics, strategy, and economics, LeDonne uncovers the principles that shaped this empire building and their evolution to the high point of Tsarist power in Eurasia and lays bare the inner mainsprings of Russia's abiding imperial vocation."--Stephen Blank, Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College "A groundbreaking geopolitical study the book is rich in knowledge and insight-a godsend for lecturers and a gold mine for graduate students in search of dissertation topics."-- Choice "LeDonne's compelling book is erudite and powerfully argued. LeDonne argues that Russia has had for centuries a Grand Strategy whose aim has been to control the Eurasian Heartland. This blunt and abstract vision will not please everyone. LeDonne's work is neither traditional diplomatic history nor new international history. But it is a perspective that needs to be debated, assimilated, thought through. The implications may be of great importance and not just to historians."-Daniel Orlovsky, Southern Methodist University "LeDonne's work constitutes a scholarly tour de force, examining in depth the complex interplay among ends, ways, and means in shaping Russia's transition from insular polity to far-flung empire. The author analyzes the roles played over nearly two centuries by land, resources, ideology, and policy in meeting the requirements of offensive intent and design. In addition to viewing the evolution of the military means within their full grand strategic context, another of LeDonne's major contributions is his treatment of the role that geography and locale played in the evolution of the larger design."-Bruce W. Menning, United States Army Command and General Staff College "Capping many years of original research, writing, and reflection, this original and challenging interpretation goes a long way in explaining not only the past role but also the present problems of Russia's imperial legacy. Readers will find much useful information and many stimulating ideas that throw a novel light on the history of Eurasia over the last four centuries."-Marc Raeff, Columbia University
"Superb treatment of Russia's strategic geography. In analyzing the implications of terrain features, riverine systems, trade routes, populations densities, and the like, LeDonne is both erudite and impressive, surpassing any other author I have read on these subjects in any language."--Journal ofModern History "LeDonne's work does provide a useful analytical framework for understanding Russian foreign policy across the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, offering a sufficient level of detail while remaining accessible to the non-specialist. This book would be a welcome addition to a library of works on Russia or strategic thought."--Captain William H. Mengel, Instructor, Department of History, US Military Academy "...a provocative book"--Herbert H. Kaplan,The Russian Review "A valuable work, both for its treatment of historical details and for its thesis that a long-lasting grand strategy existed. Whether other scholars of this period accept or reject this thesis, they would be foolish to ignore it."--Journal of Slavic and Military Studies "After reading this book no student of Tsarist history will ever be able to think quite the same way about Imperial Russia. This masterful analysis reminds us that the Russian empire was not acquired in a fit of absent-mindedness but rather was conscious work of generations of statesmen and soldiers. Tying together diplomacy, politics, strategy, and economics, LeDonne uncovers the principles that shaped this empire building and their evolution to the high point of Tsarist power in Eurasia and lays bare the inner mainsprings of Russia's abiding imperial vocation."--Stephen Blank, Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College "A groundbreaking geopolitical study the book is rich in knowledge and insight-a godsend for lecturers and a gold mine for graduate students in search of dissertation topics."--Choice "LeDonne's compelling book is erudite and powerfully argued. LeDonne argues that Russia has had for centuries a Grand Strategy whose aim has been to control the Eurasian Heartland. This blunt and abstract vision will not please everyone. LeDonne's work is neither traditional diplomatic history nor new international history. But it is a perspective that needs to be debated, assimilated, thought through. The implications may be of great importance and not just to historians."-Daniel Orlovsky, Southern Methodist University "LeDonne's work constitutes a scholarly tour de force, examining in depth the complex interplay among ends, ways, and means in shaping Russia's transition from insular polity to far-flung empire. The author analyzes the roles played over nearly two centuries by land, resources, ideology, and policy in meeting the requirements of offensive intent and design. In addition to viewing the evolution of the military means within their full grand strategic context, another of LeDonne's major contributions is his treatment of the role that geography and locale played in the evolution of the larger design."-Bruce W. Menning, United States Army Command and General Staff College "Capping many years of original research, writing, and reflection, this original and challenging interpretation goes a long way in explaining not only the past role but also the present problems of Russia's imperial legacy. Readers will find much useful information and many stimulating ideas that throw a novel light on the history of Eurasia over the last four centuries."-Marc Raeff, Columbia University
"Superb treatment of Russia's strategic geography. In analyzing the implications of terrain features, riverine systems, trade routes, populations densities, and the like, LeDonne is both erudite and impressive, surpassing any other author I have read on these subjects in any language."--Journal of Modern History"...a provocative book"--Herbert H. Kaplan, The Russian Review"A valuable work, both for its treatment of historical details and for its thesis that a long-lasting grand strategy existed. Whether other scholars of this period accept or reject this thesis, they would be foolish to ignore it."--Journal of Slavic and Military Studies"After reading this book no student of Tsarist history will ever be able to think quite the same way about Imperial Russia. This masterful analysis reminds us that the Russian empire was not acquired in a fit of absent-mindedness but rather was conscious work of generations of statesmen and soldiers. Tying together diplomacy, politics, strategy, and economics, LeDonne uncovers the principles that shaped this empire building and their evolution to the highpoint of Tsarist power in Eurasia and lays bare the inner mainsprings of Russia's abiding imperial vocation."--Stephen Blank, Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College"LeDonne's work does provide a useful analytical framework for understanding Russian foreign policy across the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, offering a sufficient level of detail while remaining accessible to the non-specialist. This book would be a welcome addition to a library of works on Russia or strategic thought."--Captain William H. Mengel, Instructor, Department of History, US Military Academy"LeDonne's compelling book is erudite and powerfully argued. LeDonne argues that Russia has had for centuries a Grand Strategy whose aim has been to control the Eurasian Heartland. This blunt and abstract vision will not please everyone. LeDonne's work is neither traditional diplomatic history nor new international history. But it is a perspective that needs to be debated, assimilated, thought through. The implications may be of great importance and not just tohistorians."-Daniel Orlovsky, Southern Methodist University"LeDonne's work constitutes a scholarly tour de force, examining in depth the complex interplay among ends, ways, and means in shaping Russia's transition from insular polity to far-flung empire. The author analyzes the roles played over nearly two centuries by land, resources, ideology, and policy in meeting the requirements of offensive intent and design. In addition to viewing the evolution of the military means within their full grand strategic context,another of LeDonne's major contributions is his treatment of the role that geography and locale played in the evolution of the larger design."-Bruce W. Menning, United States Army Command and General Staff College"A groundbreaking geopolitical study the book is rich in knowledge and insight-a godsend for lecturers and a gold mine for graduate students in search of dissertation topics."-- Choice"Capping many years of original research, writing, and reflection, this original and challenging interpretation goes a long way in explaining not only the past role but also the present problems of Russia's imperial legacy. Readers will find much useful information and many stimulating ideas that throw a novel light on the history of Eurasia over the last four centuries."-Marc Raeff, Columbia University
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 2004
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Long Description
At its height, the Russian empire covered eleven time zones and stretched from Scandinavia to the Pacific Ocean. Arguing against the traditional historical view that Russia, surrounded and threatened by enemies, was always on the defensive, John P. LeDonne contends that Russia developed a long-term strategy not in response to immediate threats but in line with its own expansionist urges to control the Eurasian Heartland. LeDonne narrates how the government from Moscow and Petersburg expanded the empire by deploying its army as well as by extending its patronage to frontier societies in return for their serving the interests of the empire. He considers three theaters on which the Russians expanded: the Western (Baltic, Germany, Poland); the Southern (Ottoman and Persian Empires); and the Eastern (China, Siberia, Central Asia). In his analysis of military power, he weighs the role of geography and locale, as well as economic issues, in the evolution of a larger imperial strategy. Rather than viewing Russia as peripheral to European Great Power politics, LeDonne makes a powerful case for Russia as an expansionist, militaristic, and authoritarian regime that challenged the great states and empires of its time.
Main Description
At its height, the Russian empire covered eleven time zones and stretched from Scandinavia to the Pacific Ocean. Arguing against the traditional historical view that Russia, surrounded and threatened by enemies, was always on the defensive, John P. LeDonne contends that Russia developed along-term strategy not in response to immediate threats but in line with its own expansionist urges to control the Eurasian Heartland. LeDonne narrates how the government from Moscow and Petersburg expanded the empire by deploying its army as well as by extending its patronage to frontier societiesin return for their serving the interests of the empire. He considers three theaters on which the Russians expanded: the Western (Baltic, Germany, Poland); the Southern (Ottoman and Persian Empires); and the Eastern (China, Siberia, Central Asia). In his analysis of military power, he weighs therole of geography and locale, as well as economic issues, in the evolution of a larger imperial strategy. Rather than viewing Russia as peripheral to European Great Power politics, LeDonne makes a powerful case for Russia as an expansionist, militaristic, and authoritarian regime that challenged thegreat states and empires of its time.
Table of Contents
Prefacep. vii
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Mapsp. xv
The Grand Strategy of the Russian Empire, 1650-1831p. 2
Introductionp. 3
The Formation of Russia's Grand Strategy, 1650-1743p. 13
The Geopolitical Backgroundp. 15
Mobile Armiesp. 38
Client States and Societiesp. 61
Hegemonic Expansionism, 1743-1796p. 83
Deep Strikesp. 85
Peripheral Deploymentp. 108
Economy, Culture, Client Societiesp. 132
The Territorialization of the Empire, 1797-1831p. 154
Strategic Penetrationp. 155
Dispersion of the Strategic Forcep. 177
Fortress Empirep. 198
Conclusionp. 219
Notesp. 235
Bibliographyp. 251
Indexp. 259
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

This information is provided by a service that aggregates data from review sources and other sources that are often consulted by libraries, and readers. The University does not edit this information and merely includes it as a convenience for users. It does not warrant that reviews are accurate. As with any review users should approach reviews critically and where deemed necessary should consult multiple review sources. Any concerns or questions about particular reviews should be directed to the reviewer and/or publisher.

  link to old catalogue

Report a problem