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Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalinist Environmentalism, 1905-1953 (Paperback)
  • Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalinist Environmentalism, 1905-1953 (Paperback)
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Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalinist Environmentalism, 1905-1953 (Paperback)

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£31.50
Paperback 310 Pages / Published: 28/10/2011
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The Soviets are often viewed as insatiable industrialists who saw nature as a force to be tamed and exploited. Song of the Forest counters this assumption, uncovering significant evidence of Soviet conservation efforts in forestry, particularly under Josef Stalin. In his compelling study, Stephen Brain profiles the leading Soviet-era conservationists, agencies, and administrators, and their efforts to formulate forest policy despite powerful ideological differences.

By the revolution of 1905, modern Russian forestry science had evolved in the work of Georgii Morozov, whose "stand" theory looked to native species, soil types, and geographical conditions for the regeneration of forests. After their rise to power, the Bolsheviks followed German methods, then considered the most advanced in the world, for clear-cutting and replanting of marketable tree types in "artificial forests". Later, Stalin's Five Year Plan required vast amounts of timber for industrialisation. Radicals proposed "flying management," a rotating system where large tracts of virgin forest would be clear-cut, while others lay fallow. Opponents favoured a conservative regenerating approach, and ultimately triumphed.

Another radical turn came with the Great Stalin Plan for the Transformation of Nature, implemented in 1948. Narrow "belts" of new forest planted on the vast Russian steppe would block drying winds, cool temperatures, retain moisture, and increase crop production. Unfortunately, planters were following the misguided methods of the notorious Trofim Lysenko, and the resulting yields were abysmal. So many foresters resorted to the older methods extolled by Morozov, and found that they worked.

Despite Lysenko, agency infighting, and an indifferent peasant workforce, Stalin-era managers created the world's largest forest preserve. Additionally, they won many environmental concessions from industrial interests. The visionary teachings of Morozov found new life, and the forest's song did not fall upon deaf ears.

Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
ISBN: 9780822961659
Number of pages: 310
Weight: 382 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

"Demonstrates the continuing importance of the forest, such a quintessential part of life in czarist Russia, in the Soviet period. Highly recommended."
"--Choice"


"Stephen Brain's book is truly revelatory. Dispensing with simplistic models, Brain has uncovered a uniquely Russian approach to forestry and explains how that approach survived and even partially guided forest management under Stalin--truly a counterintuitive proposition! This is the richest and savviest account of Russian and Soviet forestry in any language and is essential reading for those interested in environmental history, forestry, the history of science, and, not least, Russia and the Soviet Union."
--Douglas R. Weiner, University of Arizona


""Song of the Forest" provides an important new interpretation of the impact of Stalinism on Soviet environmentalism. Brain indicates how forestry policies developed under Stalin that were in their own way strongly conservationist. Well-written and easy to read, Brain's study is a welcome contribution to the expanding field of environmental history and will be of interest to specialists in Soviet history, too, for shedding light on the dynamics of Stalinist society."
--Paul Josephson, Colby College


"Makes for a lively read . . . is extensively researched, and it is an important contribution to the small but growing field of Soviet environmental history."

"--The Russian Review"


"Will change profoundly how [scholars] understand the environmental legacy of the Soviet Union. Offers the most important contribution to Soviet environmental history made to date in the twenty-first century. . . . Engagingly written and well-priced."

"--The NEP Era"


"A significant contribution to the small but growing and important field of Soviet environmental history. . . . a rich and thought-provoking work."

"--Environmental History"


"With an extensive examination of bureaucratic records and forestry journals, Stephen Brain has written the remarkable story of the romantic, prerevolutionary Russian forester Georgii Morozov and his posthumous contribution to the unique strain of environmentalism that developed in Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union. In this lucid and engaging book, Brain has recovered a little-known chapter in the history of forestry and significantly reshaped our understanding of the Soviet Union's conservation record."

"--The Historian"


"A rich and thought-provoking work that is recommended reading for anyone interested in intellectual debates and the environment in Russia and the Soviet Union across the revolutionary divide."

"--Environmental History"


Stephen Brain s book is truly revelatory. Dispensing with simplistic models, Brain has uncovered a uniquely Russian approach to forestry and explains how that approach survived and even partially guided forest management under Stalin truly a counterintuitive proposition! This is the richest and savviest account of Russian and Soviet forestry in any language and is essential reading for those interested in environmental history, forestry, the history of science, and, not least, Russia and the Soviet Union.
Douglas R. Weiner, University of Arizona
"


" Song of the Forest" provides an important new interpretation of the impact of Stalinism on Soviet environmentalism. Brain indicates how forestry policies developed under Stalin that were in their own way strongly conservationist. Well-written and easy to read, Brain s study is a welcome contribution to the expanding field of environmental history and will be of interest to specialists in Soviet history, too, for shedding light on the dynamics of Stalinist society.
Paul Josephson, Colby College"


Demonstrates the continuing importance of the forest, such a quintessential part of life in czarist Russia, in the Soviet period. Highly recommended.
" Choice""


Will change profoundly how [scholars] understand the environmental legacy of the Soviet Union. Offers the most important contribution to Soviet environmental history made to date in the twenty-first century. . . . Engagingly written and well-priced.

" The NEP Era""


A significant contribution to the small but growing and important field of Soviet environmental history. . . . a rich and thought-provoking work.

" Environmental History""


A rich and thought-provoking work that is recommended reading for anyone interested in intellectual debates and the environment in Russia and the Soviet Union across the revolutionary divide."

" Environmental History""


Makes for a lively read . . . is extensively researched, and it is an important contribution to the small but growing field of Soviet environmental history.
" The Russian Review""


Will change profoundly how [scholars] understand the environmental legacy of the Soviet Union. Offers the most important contribution to Soviet environmental history made to date in the twenty-first century. . . . Engagingly written and well-priced.
" The NEP Era""

With an extensive examination of bureaucratic records and forestry journals, Stephen Brain has written the remarkable story of the romantic, prerevolutionary Russian forester Georgii Morozov and his posthumous contribution to the unique strain of environmentalism that developed in Joseph Stalin s Soviet Union. In this lucid and engaging book, Brain has recovered a little-known chapter in the history of forestry and significantly reshaped our understanding of the Soviet Union s conservation record.
" The Historian"
"


Stephen Brain s book is truly revelatory. Dispensing with simplistic models, Brain has uncovered a uniquely Russian approach to forestry and explains how that approach survived and even partially guided forest management under Stalin truly a counterintuitive proposition! This is the richest and savviest account of Russian and Soviet forestry in any language and is essential reading for those interested in environmental history, forestry, the history of science, and, not least, Russia and the Soviet Union.

Douglas R. Weiner, University of Arizona
"


A rich and thought-provoking work that is recommended reading for anyone interested in intellectual debates and the environment in Russia and the Soviet Union across the revolutionary divide."
" Environmental History""
Demonstrates the continuing importance of the forest, such a quintessential part of life in czarist Russia, in the Soviet period. Highly recommended.
" Choice""
Well written and grounded in extensive archival work with the holdings of the many state agencies responsible for forest administration. Brain s lucid narrative provides an excellent guide to the evolution of policy, its administration, and the effects of its implementation.
Slavic Review"

-Makes for a lively read . . . is extensively researched, and it is an important contribution to the small but growing field of Soviet environmental history.-
--The Russian Review


-With an extensive examination of bureaucratic records and forestry journals, Stephen Brain has written the remarkable story of the romantic, prerevolutionary Russian forester Georgii Morozov and his posthumous contribution to the unique strain of environmentalism that developed in Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union. In this lucid and engaging book, Brain has recovered a little-known chapter in the history of forestry and significantly reshaped our understanding of the Soviet Union's conservation record.-
--The Historian


-Song of the Forest provides an important new interpretation of the impact of Stalinism on Soviet environmentalism. Brain indicates how forestry policies developed under Stalin that were in their own way strongly conservationist. Well-written and easy to read, Brain's study is a welcome contribution to the expanding field of environmental history and will be of interest to specialists in Soviet history, too, for shedding light on the dynamics of Stalinist society.-
--Paul Josephson, Colby College


"Makes for a lively read . . . is extensively researched, and it is an important contribution to the small but growing field of Soviet environmental history."
--The Russian Review


"Will change profoundly how [scholars] understand the environmental legacy of the Soviet Union. Offers the most important contribution to Soviet environmental history made to date in the twenty-first century. . . . Engagingly written and well-priced."
--The NEP Era

"With an extensive examination of bureaucratic records and forestry journals, Stephen Brain has written the remarkable story of the romantic, prerevolutionary Russian forester Georgii Morozov and his posthumous contribution to the unique strain of environmentalism that developed in Joseph Stalin's Soviet Union. In this lucid and engaging book, Brain has recovered a little-known chapter in the history of forestry and significantly reshaped our understanding of the Soviet Union's conservation record."
--The Historian


"Song of the Forest provides an important new interpretation of the impact of Stalinism on Soviet environmentalism. Brain indicates how forestry policies developed under Stalin that were in their own way strongly conservationist. Well-written and easy to read, Brain's study is a welcome contribution to the expanding field of environmental history and will be of interest to specialists in Soviet history, too, for shedding light on the dynamics of Stalinist society."
--Paul Josephson, Colby College


"A rich and thought-provoking work that is recommended reading for anyone interested in intellectual debates and the environment in Russia and the Soviet Union across the revolutionary divide."
--Environmental History
"Demonstrates the continuing importance of the forest, such a quintessential part of life in czarist Russia, in the Soviet period. Highly recommended."
--Choice
"Well written and grounded in extensive archival work with the holdings of the many state agencies responsible for forest administration. Brain's lucid narrative provides an excellent guide to the evolution of policy, its administration, and the effects of its implementation."
--Slavic Review
"Stephen Brain's book is truly revelatory. Dispensing with simplistic models, Brain has uncovered a uniquely Russian approach to forestry and explains how that approach survived and even partially guided forest management under Stalin--truly a counterintuitive proposition! This is the richest and savviest account of Russian and Soviet forestry in any language and is essential reading for those interested in environmental history, forestry, the history of science, and, not least, Russia and the Soviet Union."

--Douglas R. Weiner, University of Arizona

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