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Shattering Empires
The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires 1908–1918

$32.99 (G)

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  • Date Published: March 2011
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521149167

$ 32.99 (G)

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About the Authors
  • The break-up of the Ottoman empire and the disintegration of the Russian empire were watershed events in modern history. The unravelling of these empires was both cause and consequence of World War I and resulted in the deaths of millions. It irrevocably changed the landscape of the Middle East and Eurasia and reverberates to this day in conflicts throughout the Caucasus and Middle East. Shattering Empires draws on extensive research in the Ottoman and Russian archives to tell the story of the rivalry and collapse of two great empires. Overturning accounts that portray their clash as one of conflicting nationalisms, this pioneering study argues that geopolitical competition and the emergence of a new global interstate order provide the key to understanding the course of history in the Ottoman-Russian borderlands in the twentieth century. It will appeal to those interested in Middle Eastern, Russian, and Eurasian history, international relations, ethnic conflict, and World War I.

    • Explores a fundamental moment in history, which sparked controversies and conflicts still in progress today, such as controversial Turkish-Armenian relations, the Kurdish question, the origins of the Turkish Republic, and conflicts in the Caucasus and between Russia and its Muslims
    • Integrates theories and concepts from international relations and political science, addressing the political behaviour of empires, ethnic conflict, and borderland populations
    • Original archival research adds knowledge to the poorly understood collapse of the Ottoman and Russian empires
    Read more


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2011

    Reviews & endorsements

    "A first-class work of history ... an impressively clear and highly original account of the complex events in the Russian and Ottoman empires" - Financial Times

    "Shattering Empires is a pioneering study that brilliantly illuminates the entangled crises of the Ottoman and Russian states. In this timely and well-written book, Reynolds skilfully shows how the confrontation between these two states contributed to the collapse of both empires and to the birth of a new kind of politics in the Middle East and the Caucasus." Robert D. Crews, Stanford University

    "Michael Reynolds has written an important and original book. He relates a complex story with remarkable clarity and admirable rigor. His balanced and nuanced account is based on wide research and is a major addition to the literature on Russian and Ottoman history, and to the history of the First World War." Peter Holquist, University of Pennsylvania

    "Michael Reynolds combines a deep understanding of Russia and Turkey to produce an outstanding book that illuminates both historical and contemporary questions." Stephen Rosen, Harvard University

    "Shattering Empires is a fine book … it makes a valuable contribution not only to the history of Russian-Ottoman relations but also to our understanding of the intersection of nationalism and geopolitics in the age of imperial downfall." -Times Literary Supplement

    "This fine, provocative book asks important questions: about the alleged anachronistic nature of empires; about nationalism as a driving force to explain the modern historical narrative; about the quest for security and its costs and consequences. It deserves a wide and serious reading.". -Journal of Military History

    "This very well-written study is an invaluable addition to literature on WWI, borderland studies, and analyses of the Armenian question. Highly recommended." -Choice

    "...original, fresh, and insightful..." -Paul W. Werth, The Journal of Modern History

    'Shattering Empires is the fruit of a rising scholar’s scrupulous archival labours … required reading for everyone who wishes to become properly acquainted with Russia’s Great War.' David Schimmelpenninck van der Oye, The Russian Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521149167
    • length: 324 pages
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.52kg
    • contains: 25 b/w illus. 5 maps
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. The high politics of anarchy and competition
    2. Troubles in Anatolia: imperial insecurities and the transformation of borderland politics
    3. Visions of vulnerability: the politics of Muslims, revolutionaries, and defectors
    4. Out of the pan, into the fire: empires at war
    5. Remastering Anatolia: rending nations, rending empires
    6. Brest-Litovsk and the opening of the Caucasus
    7. Forced to be free: the geopolitics of independence in the Transcaucasus
    8. Racing against time

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • 19th Century Middle East
    • Intro to European History
    • Middle East in the Age of European Empires
    • Russia in War and Peace
    • The Armenians in the Late Ottoman Empire
    • The Ottoman Empire and World History
    • World At War
  • Author

    Michael A. Reynolds, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Michael A. Reynolds is Assistant Professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University.


    • A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2011

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