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Revolutions and the Making of the Modern World

From Peter the Great to Karl Marx

James Cracraft

Edited By William Benton Whisenhunt

Professor James Cracraft is an established specialist on early modern Russian history, particularly the era of Peter the Great (1682-1725), tsar and first Russian emperor. This volume gathers some of the many key articles and reviews published by him over the last forty years and more in a wide variety of scholarly venues, some of which are not readily accessible. They constitute in sum important contributions not only to Russian history broadly understood, but also to the study of history itself. The collection will include a preface by the editor and an introduction by the author, where he will sum up his decades of historical work and point to new avenues of needed research, all the while emphasizing that "history" properly understood does not exist somewhere on its own but is the creation, however imperfect, of professional historians (as "chemistry", say, is properly understood as the work, however imperfect, of professional chemists).

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14 The Dilemma of Orthodoxy in Early Modern Ukraine

Extract

Frank E. Sysyn, Between Poland and the Ukraine: The Dilemma of Adam Kysil, 1600–1653 (Cambridge: Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, distributed by Harvard University Press, 1985), pp. xix, 406.

The stated purpose of this solid book is twofold. It is, first, to study in such detail as the sources permit the career of Adam Kysil, a nobleman of Ukrainian birth and Polish culture who briefly became, in Frank E. Sysyn’s phrase, “the leader of Rus’.” (p. 127) Its purpose is also to clarify, by examining Kysil’s activities and views, certain “issues of seventeenth-century Ukraine and its relation with the PolishLithuanian Commonwealth.” (p. 4) If this seems to promise a modest and perhaps even an uninteresting endeavor, even to students of early modern east European or Balkan history, the impression is mistaken—Dr. Sysyn’s own depressing conclusion, that “Kysil can hardly be seen as a great stateman” (p. 208), notwithstanding. In fact, within the biographical and monographic limits he has set himself, Sysyn achieves his ends admirably. His is the interlocked story of the onset of Poland’s decline as a great power and the Ukraine’s emergence as something more than a religio-linguistic community dispersed among the lands of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, a story that he tells with a rare grace, detachment, and authority (fully half the book is filled with its scholarly apparatus, ←229 | 230→including a bibliography of nearly five hundred secondary works, mostly in Polish and Ukrainian, and an impressive array of primary sources both printed and...

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