Know Your Enemy: The Rise and Fall of America's Soviet Experts

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9780195324860: Know Your Enemy: The Rise and Fall of America's Soviet Experts

As World War II ended, few Americans in government or universities knew much about the Soviet Union. As David Engerman shows in this book, a network of scholars, soldiers, spies, and philanthropists created an enterprise known as Soviet Studies to fill in this dangerous gap in American knowledge. This group brought together some of the nation's best minds from the left, right, and center, colorful and controversial individuals ranging from George Kennan to Margaret Mead to Zbigniew Brzezinski, not to mention historians Sheila Fitzpatrick and Richard Pipes. Together they created the knowledge that helped fight the Cold War and define Cold War thought. Soviet Studies became a vibrant intellectual enterprise, studying not just the Soviet threat, but Soviet society and culture at a time when many said that these were contradictions in terms, as well as Russian history and literature. And this broad network, Engerman argues, forever changed the relationship between the government and academe, connecting the Pentagon with the ivory tower in ways that still matter today.

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About the Author:


David C. Engerman is the author of Modernization from the Other Shore, named a best book on Russia by Foreign Affairs. He is an Associate Professor of History at Brandeis University.

Review:


"The extraordinary range and depth of Engerman's research and the narrative arc knitting this book together from start to finish make Know Your Enemy a consummate work of scholarship and historical imagination. Engerman's critical assessment of all the diverse components within academic 'Sovietology' shatters one cliché after another. Soviet Studies never fashioned a single Cold War vision of the USSR and never served simply as an ideological arm of U.S. foreign policy--even when scholars were most closely linked with diplomatic and military operatives."--Howard Brick, University of Michigan


"Those in and out of the field of Soviet Studies will find genuine revelations in Know Your Enemy. Engerman combines thorough research with a firm footing in the sociology of knowledge of the post-World War II world in this remarkable story of the U.S.'s most successful area studies enterprise. The author sensibly and dispassionately navigates the reader through the maelstrom of conflicts and controversies that beset the field and is practitioners from the Second World War until the fall of the Soviet Union."--Norman M. Naimark, Stanford University


"The book treats the interaction between U.S. politics and scholarship on the USSR with a depth and subtlety unmatched by previous writers...Know Your Enemy is based on a sophisticated knowledge of postwar American scholarship on the Soviet Union in five academic disciplines--history, literary studies, economics, socioloy, and political science... Anyone with a serious interest in the study of the Soviet Union should read it closely and ponder its lessons."--Journal of Cold War Studies


"Looking at both people and institutions, David Engerman has written the most complete and informative account of the rise and fall of Russian/Soviet studies. Sovietology arose out of world war and Cold War, but Engerman demonstrates that rather than simply ideologically driven, this scholarly field contained a variety of voices that contested with one another to influence colleagues, the government, and the public. The fate of the field, however, was intimately tied to the global conflict with America's adversary, and when Soviet socialism collapsed, Sovietology disappeared along with it. Yet the contours of understanding a distant and little known rival continue to influence new generations still perplexed by that part of the world."--Ronald Grigor Suny, author of The Soviet Experiment


"In his excellent history of Cold War Sovietology, which is solidly grounded in interviews and more than 100 archival collections, David Engerman has fashioned an important institutional and intellectual history of its academic dimensions. This clearly argued, fair-minded, and very illuminating volume reveals more interesting individuals and a more complicated story (as archives always do) than the oft repeated commonplaces about this history have revealed."--Thomas Bender, author of A Nation Among Nations: America's Place in World History


"[D]eeply researched new book."--Evan R. Goldstein, The Chronicle Review


"[E]ngrossing."--Wall Street Journal


"[F]ascinating history."--Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs


"Deeply researched, well-written, this is an important chronicle that explains much about how government and academia still interact, and it should be read not just by
Russophiles, but by anyone interested in new academic initiatives to focus on 'Islamic Studies.'"--Paul E. Richardson, Russian Life


"[An] essential book for any student of the former Soviet Union-and anyone who wants to understand how scholarship is made when it is intertwined with national security concerns."
--William W. Finan Jr., Current History


"In writing this very readable account of the rise and fall of Soviet Studies in teh United States, Engerman embodies the very type of scholar that might have, in greater numbers, saved the field...Know Your Enemy proves to be a good example of how scholars in the humanities can use their substantial research and teaching skills to combine a rigorous scholarly analysis of a subject with an engaging text in order to reach a wide and varied readership."--Belles Lettres


"It is a fascinating story, filled with colorful, outsized personalities from various walks of life, and Engerman tells it well, in clear and economical prose and with a keen eye for the telling anecdote and vivid quote...[A] penetrating investigation of the complex relationship between national security and intellectual life in Cold War America."--Journal of American History


"An exciting odyssey into Cold War Sovietology."--Slavic Review


"A work of remarkable breadth and depth...Know Your Enemy brings together institutional and intellectual history to add fresh insights to the field of Cold War Studies...This important book brings back into view the problematic role of the academy at the intersection of scholarship, epistemology, and national security."--Reviews in American History


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