The Great Game 1856-1907 -- Russo-British Relations in Central and East Asia by Evgeny Sergeev, Woodrow Wilson Center/Johns Hopkins UPress '13, 530 pages, ASIN #1421408090. Index, archival sources and bibliography, notes, appendix, unillustrated.
From the dust jacket:
"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 19th century. Evgeny Sergeev offers a complex and novel point of view by synthesizing official collections of documents, parliamentarian papers, political pamphlets, memoirs, contemporary journalism, and guidebooks from unpublished and less studied primary sources from Russian, British, Indian, Georgian, Uzbek, and Turkmen archives.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.
Uneven Ground -- Appalachia Since 1945 by Ronald D. Eller, UKentucky Press '13 paperback. $22.95, 228 pages, ASIN #0813142466. Index, bibliography, notes, grouping of b&w glossy images.
Few regions of America are more emblematic of the problems and challenges of poverty as Appalachia. And the author concedes that over the years -- even recent years -- "inequalities in the region have grown." In a brief Q&A, Ronald D. Eller discusses the writing of his book:
Q. What steps do you believe the government must take to improve the standards of living within Appalachia?
A. Some of the structures exist within state and national governments to address the uneven ground of Appalachia, but we must change the way the problems of the region are defined and open the democratic process to broader conversations about the use of public investments and who has authority over development. We not only need a more community-based process, as opposed to a market-driven one, but our social institutions must also contribute more directly to the improvement of civic life--creativity, diversity, and vision must be fostered.
Appalachia's future, like that of the rest of the nation, lies in revitalizing creativity, responsibility, and vision within mountain communities rather than in any nationally-conceived plan to modernize the region. Institutions, government agencies, planners, and academics can nurture the community-based programs, assure equity at the table, and describe alternative paths for local economies, but the energy of change must come within the mountain communities themselves.
Q. What message do you hope to send to people who will be reading this book, especially since it will eventually fall to them to help better the region's situation in the future?
A. I had two goals in writing Uneven Ground. First, I wanted to provide a comprehensive survey of the major historical events in Appalachia since 1945 and how they connected to national events. Second, I wanted to critically analyze the politics of development in Appalachia during those years, describing I hope that Uneven Ground invigorates others (especially young people) to think in different ways and to envision an alternative future. Otherwise, my history of Appalachia ends up just being another Appalachian tragedy.
Ronald D. Eller is former director of the Appalachian Center and Distinguished Professor of History at the University of Kentucky.
Cities Without Suburbs, 4th Edition -- A Census 2010 Perspective by David Rusk, Woodrow Wilson Center '13 paperback, 199 pages, ASIN #1938027043. Index, sources, two appendices, b&w images sprinkled through text.
An earlier generation remembers Dean Rusk, David Rusk's father, as U.S. Secretary of State under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. But David Rusk has done his father proud in his own right -- as Mayor of Aubuquerque, N.M., independent consultant on urban and suburban development policy, and as author of several books on urban planning and policy, the latest of which is mentioned here.
From the back cover:
"Cities without Suburbs, first published in 1993, has become an influential analysis of America's cities among city planners, scholars, and citizens alike. In it, David Rusk argues that America must end the isolation of the central city from its suburbs in order to attack its urban problems.
"The fourth edition updates Rusk's argument using the 2010 census, plus the American Community Survey. Rusk provides new material on the difference between population trends and household trends, the impact of Hispanic immigration, and the potential for city-county consolidation. And the fourth edition brings added emphasis to 'elasticity mimics' -- a variety of intergovernmental policies that can provide some of the benefits of consolidated regional efforts in situations where annexation and consolidation are impossible."
Author David Rusk is author of Baltimore Unbound: A Strategy for Regional Renewal (1995), and Inside Game/Outside Game: Winning Strategies for Saving Urban America (2001).