Russia under the Old Regime: Second Edition (Penguin History)
This study analyzes the evolution of the Russian state from the 9th century to the 1880s, and its unique role in managing Russian society. The development of Russia was different from that of the rest of Europe. The natural poverty of geographical conditions made it extremely difficult to construct an effective regime, and a "patrimonial" state arose in which the country was conceived as the personal property of the tsar. The book describes the evolution of this regime, and analyzes the political behaviour of the principal social groupings, peasantry, nobility, bourgeoisie and clergy, and accounts for their failure to stand up to the increasing absolutism of the tsar. Only the intelligentsia were able to make such a stand, and the book shows how in countering this challenge, Russia developed into a bureaucratic police state.
Best of the Set
By Buce - December 27, 2003
I think this is the best of what I guess you would call Pipes' "Revolutionary Trilogy." "The Russian Revolution," perhaps two or three times the length, is impaired a bit by Pipes' sometimes tedious moral-pointing. "Russia Under the Bolshevik Regime" seems a bit less ambitious than the other two, and in any event it is surely the one least likely to survive the torrent of new material that is becoming available after the fall.What distinguishes Russia in Pipes' eye is the tradition of "patrimonialism" -- as a political category, a coinage of Pipes' own, though with its roots in Weber, in Hobbes and Bodin, even in Aristotle. Pipes means to denote "a regime where the rights of sovereignty and those of ownership blend to the point of becoming indistinguishable, and political power is exercised in the same manner as economic power." "Despotism," Pipes continues, "has much the same etymological origins, but over time... read more
Best One-Volume History of Pre-Revolutionary Russia
By Thomas F. Ogara - June 23, 2000
I only read this book after I had been studying Russian and Russian history for many years, studied in Russia and married a Russian. It is beyond any doubt the best introduction to the subject that I have found in English. It removes a large amount of misconceptions that Americans have about Russian history, illuminates what deserves to be illuminated, avoids pet topics and romaticisms and manages to do all this without the condescending tone that most American writers take when writing about Russia. If you know nothing about Russia and want to learn, this is an excellent place to start.
Indispensible Guide to Understanding Prerevolutionary Russia
By Nina Kamerer (firstname.lastname@example.org) - May 3, 1998
This work by Pipes is the place to start if you are interested in studying the history or literature of Pre-Revolutionary Russia. Pipes takes a traditionalist historical approach to discussing development of Russia from the Kievan Rus state through to the height of Imperial Tsarist Russia. His work is extremely illuminating, revealing the formation, evolution and interaction of the complex Russian social classes. He clearly sets forward what he believes to to be the unique factors which produced Russia's "differentness" and which contributed toward the production of the absolutist institution of the Tsarist autocracy. Pipes is particularly interesting on the subjects of serfdom (and why is was not a feudal construct) and the symbiotic, destructive relation between Russian society and topography. This is indeed the definitive work on Old Russia, and is required reading for an understanding of Tolstoy.
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