March 18, 2010
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v2.1 Reference

All the Tsar's Men

Russia's General Staff and the Fate of the Empire, 1898–1914

All the Tsar’s Men examines how institutional reforms designed to prepare the Imperial Russian Army for the modern battlefield failed to prevent devastating defeats in both the 1905 Russo-Japanese War and World War I. John W. Steinberg argues that the General Staff officers who devised new educational and doctrinal reforms had the experience, dedication, and leadership skills to defend the empire in the new age of warfare but were continually impeded by institutionalized inefficiency and rigid control from their superiors. These officers, he explains, were operating within a command structure unwilling to grant them the autonomy necessary to effect significant reform, which proved disastrous for the army and—ultimately—the empire.

About the Author

John W. Steinberg is an associate professor of history at Georgia Southern University. He has contributed to two major edited works on this period, Reforming the Tsar’s Army and The Russo-Japanese War: World War Zero. He was a Kennan Institute Research Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in 1996.


With its deft handling of the army’s campaigns in the Far East, as well as its larger focus on the General Staff, All the Tsar’s Men offers a highly original and well-substantiated answer to a series of questions too often overlooked in the English-language historiography of the Russian empire. Steinberg has made use of an impressive array of primary sources and succeeds admirably in illustrating the tension that eventually undermined the entire imperial order.

- David McDonald, University of Wisconsin–Madison

This is the first book in any language to move beyond anecdote-based assertions about the social and service composition of the General Staff Corps. Steinberg makes a significant contribution to the literature on late Imperial Russian military history, adding considerably to our understanding of the evolution of the General Staff during its last decades.

- David Alan Rich, author of The Tsar's Colonels: Professionalism, Strategy, and Subversion in Late Imperial Russia


Steinberg's book is a fine piece of work and it makes a significant contribution to the field.

- Jonathan Grant - World History Connected

All the Tsar's Men... should be required reading for anyone interested in Imperial Russian military history.

- David Schimmelpenninck ven der Oye - The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Steinberg's book is extremely useful... This book rewards reading.

- Keith Neilson - Journal of Military History

An important read for serious students of Russian military history, World War I, and the military staff.

- A. A. Nofi - StrategyWorld.com

All the Tsar's Men will be useful to anyone seeking more detail on the ways that Russian commanders were trained in the last days of the Romanov empire.

- Joshua Sanborn - Slavic Review

A welcome addition to the study of the Russian Imperial Army in the twilight of the Romanov epoch.

- Eugune Miakinkov - Canadian Slavonic Papers

Steinberg's book is informative and detailed, makes good use of archival material and contemporary publications, and provides the best analysis available in English of the education and training of this important group of officers before the war.

- Matthew Rendle - Journal of Modern History

This is a well thought out, well structured and well written work, one which does credit both to the author and publisher and is well worth reading.

- Steve J. Main - Europe-Asia Studies
Johns Hopkins University Press
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9780801895456 : all-the-tsars-men-steinberg
408 Pages
$60.00 USD

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