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The Great Game, 1856–1907

Paperback
, 552 pages

5 b&w illus., 2 maps

ISBN:
9781421415574
August 2014
$39.95

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The Great Game, 1856–1907

Russo-British Relations in Central and East Asia

Outstanding Academic Title, Choice Magazine

The Great Game, 1856–1907 presents a new view of the British-Russian competition for dominance in Central Asia in the second half of the nineteenth century. Evgeny Sergeev offers a complex and novel point of view by synthesizing official collections of documents, parliamentary papers, political pamphlets, memoirs, contemporary journalism, and guidebooks from unpublished and less studied primary sources in Russian, British, Indian, Georgian, Uzbek, and Turkmen archives. His efforts amplify our knowledge of Russia by considering the important influences of local Asian powers.

Ultimately, this book disputes the characterization of the Great Game as a proto–Cold War between East and West. By relating it to other regional actors, Sergeev creates a more accurate view of the game’s impact on later wars and on the shape of post–World War I Asia.

Evgeny Sergeev is a professor of history and head of the Twentieth Century: Socio-Political and Economic Problems Center at the Russian Academy of Sciences Institute of World History. He is author of Russian Military Intelligence in the War with Japan, 1904–05: Secret Operations on Land and at Sea. He was a short-term scholar at the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute in 2006.

"[Sergeev] is able to move beyond the Game to its players, to the architects of strategy. The reader is at the table with senior policy-makers, listening to them balance possibilities and practicalities within the structures of shifting relations between Russia and Britain."

"An important contribution to the field and offers valuable insights into its complexities. Subsequent examinations of this topic will have to contend with Sergeev's recontextualization of the Great Game."

"Sergev is the first to provide an account based on a large number of sources from archives in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, and Tashkent in addition to those available in London. This unique research allows him to offer not only an updated version of Britain and Russia's struggle for empire in Central Asia in the 19th century, but also a much more nuanced approach that takes into account the experience of Central Asians and Indians... An excellent, indispensable reference source for libraries, students, researchers, and general readers. Essential."

" The Great Game is an important contribution to the field and offers valuable insights into its complexities. Subsequent examinations of this topic will have to contend with Sergeev's recontextualization of the Great Game."

"A monumental and readable assessment of the Great Game that makes the Russian side clearly intelligible in relation to the British."

"Sergeev is evenhanded in his definition of the game, in his delineation of its stages, and in his ability to view the game in its full context. It is unlikely that any other scholar of the Great Game displays Sergeev’s virtuosity with primary sources across several languages and from diverse archives."

"In The Great Game, 1856–1907: Russo-British Relations in Central and East Asia, Evgeny Sergeev makes a substantial, indeed impressive and welcome... contribution to the historical study of the 'Great Game' played out on the 'chess-board' of Asia by Russia and Britain... Sergeev demonstrates an acquaintance with the Russian sources which far surpasses that of any related work to-date, making his contribution invaluable. And this should take nothing away from his impressive depth of knowledge in the English sources as well, not to mention occasional reference to French and German."

"Sergeev's book is based on a wide range of sources from both the Russian and British sides and the discussion of this intense imperial rivalry from both standpoints represents the major strength of the work."

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