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Modernizing Muscovy : Reform and Social Change in Seventeenth-century Russia
The seventeenth century remains a much understudied and misunderstood period of Russian history. A collection of articles by 17 recognized authorities in Russian history, Modernizing Muscovy constitutes the first systematic analysis of key aspects of late Muscovite life ranging from political and economic issues to culture and self-perception. The book reveals how dramatic change permeated nearly all aspects of the Muscovite state and society during this pivotal era which marks the end of Russia''s relative isolation in most key areas. It convincingly demonstrates that seventeenth-century Russia was a highly dynamic society, not the stagnant country still caught in the Middle Ages which has dominated Russian historiography to this day. Moreover, the various articles show that Peter the Great, who is customarily credited as being the "great reformer" in Russian history, was in fact able to build on a strong and established legacy of institutional and political innovation. Indeed, most of his reforms merely represent a continuation of policies adopted under his predecessors. Modernizing Muscovy will be of great interest to several kinds of readers. To the Russian historian, it will present new perspectives on a key era in the country''s history and underscore the need to abandon the traditional periodicization of Russian history-writing. To the Europeanist and general historian, as well as interested members of the general public, it will serve as an encyclopedia of late Muscovite history, presenting a detailed portrait of an era which witnessed the beginning of Russia''s transformation into one of the great world powers in of the world. The book will moreover, serve as a useful teaching tool. It is a long-overdue attempt to provide a complete analysis of late Muscovite history and its thorough analyses reveals the numerous weaknesses of the standard textbook approach.
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Taylor & Francis
February 19, 2004
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