Models of Nature studies the early and turbulent years of the Soviet conservation movement from the October Revolution to the mid-1930s—Lenin’s rule to the rise of Stalin. This new edition includes an afterword by the author that reflects upon the study's impact and discusses advances in the field since the book was first published.
Douglas R. Weiner treats conservation--the main topic of this book--as a complex phenomenon molded by government policies, scientific ideas, cultural values, and ideological tenets. He concentrates on the Soviet period from the October Revolution to the consolidation of Stalinist rule in the mid-1930s. . . . Thoroughly documented and firmly integrated, this book is a major contribution to the history of Soviet science, politics, and culture.
Professor Weiner's book adds an interesting and fresh view to Soviet/Russian history. His findings are important not only for the environmental movement, but also for a better understanding of the passive resistance to Stalin's repressions from educated society (intelligentsia).
Weiner's thoroughly researched volume goes along way toward unraveling the Soviet environmental enigma. Weiner's main focus is on what he terms the ecological conservation movement in the Soviet Union, its origins, its struggle for governmental approval and, most importantly, the reasons for its demise under Stalin. . . . Models of Nature will be a well used volume by all Soviet specialists . . . it should also be a major reference work for all those who study the history of science, all who find enlightenment in the advancement of conservationist philosophies, and all who are concerned about the abuse of political power.
This is a very good book—carefully researched, well-written and handsomely put together.
A fascinating account of lost opportunities . . . Weiner is to be congratulated for enabling us to comprehend better one facet of decision making in the ostensibily less complex Stalin era.
Weiner analyzes the rural ideologies at work on both sides, with special attention to the entanglement of science and ideologies, since everyone claimed scientific authority.
In his beautifully written book . . . Weiner chronicles the fate of Russia's conservation movement during the first fifteen years of Communist rule. . . with a fine mixture of compassion and scholarly detachment, Weiner rescues from oblivion a number of fascinating individuals who understood that nature is far more powerful than any political or economic force. Much of what one finds in Models of Nature could be usefully integrated into the intellectual armamentarium of the most contemporary ecologically minded person.
Models of Nature remains of great interest to students of conservation and the history of science and sheds light on Soviet scientists' often bold activism as well as on bureaucratic activities.
In this book there are masterful analyses of the alternation between conscious and innate models of social development and generalisations on how the early Soviet period generated new and often arrogant models of human nature; both linked to well-documented examples of specific struggles to preserve "natural monuments" in Ukraine, Siberia, or central Russia.
Douglas R. Weiner is professor of history at the University of Arizona, and the author of A Little Corner of Freedom: Russian Nature Protection from Stalin to Gorbachev. He was awarded the book prize of the Moscow Society of Naturalists, Russia’s oldest scientific society, for the Russian edition of Models of Nature.learn more