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The Revolution of Peter the Great

The Revolution of Peter the Great Review ´ 9 Ture and image making emerged along with expansive vocabularies for labeling new objects and activities Russians learned how to build and sail warships; train supply and command a modern army; operate a new style bureaucracy; conduct diplomacy on a par with the other European states; apply modern science; and conceptualize the new governing system Throughout Peter remains the central figure and Cracraft discusses the shaping events of the tsar's youth h. This is not meant to be a complete biography of Peter the Great but a short narrative on how he was able to revolutionize Russia Cracraft s main hypothesis that it was in the arts and the military that Peter revolutionized Russia The main disagreement with Cracraft is how much did Peter really change Russia It seems to me it was a mile wide and an inch deep The military advisers were largely imported The building of the navy was entirely imported The strengthening of the army was largely imported And then afterwards there was training of a few score primarily aristocrats who were capable of continuing developmentThe same was true in the visual arts and particularly architecture Cracraft mentions the aristocracy was reuired to do state service and there was bureaucratic reform And the vast majority of the people were serfs But this shows just how limited Peter s revolution was Revolution from the top has always been Russia s problem continuing to the present day A stultified 98% of the population dependent on 2% of the population for there to be any change and progress does not lead to success

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The Revolution of Peter the Great Review ´ 9 Many books chronicle the remarkable life of Russian tsar Peter the Great but none analyze how his famous reforms actually took root and spread in Russia In The Revolution of Peter the Great James Cracraft offers a brilliant new interpretation of this pivotal eraLinking together and transcending Peter's many reforms of state and society Cracraft argues was nothing less than a cultural revolution New ways of dress elite social behavior navigation architec. What is a revolution The uintessential revolution most people have in their heads must be the French revolution 1789 followed by the Russian revolution of 1917 they were popular revolts concerning food turned into political upheaval by a relatively small group of educated revolutionaries So calling Peter the Great a or less born into power absolute monarch s rule a revolution seems out of place This is James Cracraft s attempt at rewriting the classic enlightened ruler historiography by shifting the old focus on the monarch and his personality towards the rule and impact it has had I have to say that I think it works and believe it should be emulated Lovers of the classic big person historiography will still find plenty of big person history to please them so no worries In most cases I find it easy not to go into great man history but there are some exceptions and Peter the Great is one of them As a child my father loved to talk about him how he personally went to the Netherlands and England to seek out the tradesmen scientists artists sailors and military experts to aid him in reforming his state developing an interest and expertise in medicine and naval science that would make him long for a different life as an admiral in the British navy I am sure the fact that my father and his model ruler share their first names had something to do with it but it was not hard to understand why my father was so mesmerized by the man His reforms and policies went from the military administration scientific research education coinage the orthodox church navy medicine architecture cityplanning mapping printing linguistics theater portrait painting proto industry diplomacy international law up to role of women in his new court The man was all over the place to such an extent that for many of the listed subjects he was and remains the first and only in Russian history But he did not it on a whim His original plan had been to found a navy to defend Russia but this reuired so many other things that in the end he was deep into reforming cyrillic writing to easily translate from Dutch and German the manuals and books on managing said navy and so on He touched so many things that it could be easier to discuss what he did not reform and Cracraft does so For all his reforming frenzy Peter the great did not touch the life of serfs He did not abolish the power the boyar rural elites had over 90% of the Russian population nor did he revision what the future of non Russians would be in his new state Peter the great s revolution did off course have an impact on most Russians among others military service and universal centralized taxation became a thing in Russia but with the exception of his new capital and some ideas on model villages and towns was Peter s Russia one where he dealt with the elites of his society even if the door was left ajar based on merit for the few lucky individuals In this sense was Peter the Great s revolution limitedReading this book I could not help but be reminded of other such enlightened rulers both those successful and those who were not Founding a new capitals often with their names attached to them has been rather popular with these kinds of rulers who aim at doing things uite differently then before Rulers like pharaoh Achnaton roman emperor Constantine tokugawa ieyasu all like Peter the great had sweeping visions of reform often starting from a duo problem The first a fear that the way of doing things will no longer suffice in the days to come and second little to no patience with those attached to the old way of doing things regardless of how much power they have and traditions they claim to embody Like with Peter the great these rulers came into power as the result of an inter elite power struggle and were expected to rule and reward their faction as well placate all those other elites who may have been outmaneuvered but remain powerful In stead all of these rulers set out to reshape their states to make them stronger internationally which reuired a advanced army which reuired lots of funds to be acuired with centralized power which led to reforms in bureaucracy which created a new political elite who needed to define themselves which led to new culture consumption that created antagonism with the old elite and this led to the choice for a new capital city that had to reaffirm the stronger international position of the newly reformed state James Cracraft the revolution of Peter the great is a then decent book on a subject and person of which has been written so much by so many and of whom and his policies so much has been preserved The most obvious the city of Petrograd while the most charming has to be his sailing boat from his youth Cared and tended trough the centuries as the grandfather of Russian navy even Stalin did not dare to destroy it I think there is little telling of the long shadow Peter the Great s impact on Russian statecraft and its various branches then his Botik that not even those who overthrew the monarchy to which Peter belonged dared to touch it A good book that finds a balance between history of the ruler and his actual ruling placing it well into the 18century political context of Europe A fresh take on the historiography off the enlightened ruler

James Cracraft Ý 9 Review

The Revolution of Peter the Great Review ´ 9 Is inner circle the resistance his reforms engendered and the founding of the city that would embody his vision St Petersburg which celebrated its tercentenary in 2003By century's end Russia was poised to play a critical role in the Napoleonic wars and boasted an elite culture about to burst into its golden age In this elouent book Cracraft illuminates an astonishing transformation that had enormous conseuences for both Russia and Europe indeed the worl. I was enraptured by the initial chapter of this book Peter the Great is an extremely engaging historical character The rest of the book well it was very safe The synopsis could easily be boiled down to Early Modern Europe had already made X advances since the Medieval Ages and Peter did XYand Z to bring Russia up to speed Once you ve grasped that initial premise the book becomes pretty fill in the blank lacking any real interesting or challenging ideas There are a few exceptions but in general it made the book a bit dull

  • Paperback
  • 192
  • The Revolution of Peter the Great
  • James Cracraft
  • English
  • 19 July 2019
  • 9780674019843