Edition: 2001 (Reprint)
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Description: From the Carpathians in the west to the Greater Khingan range in the east, a huge, flat expanse dominates the Eurasian continent. Here, over more than a thousand years, the history and destiny of Russia have unfolded. In a sweeping narrative, one of the English-speaking world's leading historians of Russia follows this story from the first emergence of the Slavs in the historical record in the sixth century C.E. to the Russians' persistent appearances in today's headlines. Hosking's is a monumental story of competing legacies, of an enormous power uneasily balanced between the ideas and realities of Asian empire, European culture, and Byzantine religion; of a constantly shifting identity, from Kievan Rus to Muscovy to Russian Empire to Soviet Union to Russian Federation, and of Tsars and leaders struggling to articulate that identity over the centuries. With particular attention to non-Russian regions and ethnic groups and to Russia's relations with neighboring polities, Hosking lays out the links between political, economic, social, and cultural phenomena that have made Russia what it is--a world at once familiar and mysterious to Western observers. In a clear and engaging style, he conducts us through the Mongol invasions, the rise of autocracy, the reigns of Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great, the battle against Napoleon, the emancipation of the serfs, the Crimean War, the Bolshevik Revolution, Stalin's reign of terror, the two World Wars, the end of the USSR, to today's war against Chechnya. Hosking's history is shot through with the understanding that becoming an empire has prevented Russia from becoming a nation and has perpetuated archaic personal forms of power. This book is the most penetrating and comprehensive account yet of what such a legacy has meant--to Russia, and to the world.