G. Patrick March
"Eastern Destiny: Russia in Asia and the North Pacific" is the history of a remarkable eastern expansion under tsars, emperors, and commissars. The narrative spans the period from the Mongol conquest in the 13th century to the Cold War of the 20th. An intense anxiety for security, owed in large part to the Mongol incursion, would impel the eastern Slavs relentlessly toward territorial aggrandizement. Over the centuries, the modest Grand Duchy of Moscow in Eastern Europe was so successful that it grew into the massive Russian Empire, whose lands stretched from the Holy Roman Empire in Central Europe to the edge of British power in the wilds of North America. "Eastern Destiny: Russia in Asia and the North Pacific" is a saga of entrepreneurs pressing ever-eastward for the wealth of pelts, whether sable or sea otter. It features the arrival of the servants of the state who ensured control of these lands and negotiated--whether subtly or otherwise--with the nations of East Asia. Also chronicled are the voluntary release by treaty of Alaska and the northern Kurils, the humiliating temporary loss of southern Sakhalin and the ultimate dismemberment of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Despite such losses, the Russian Federation still comprises the most expansive country on earth, most of whose territory is the result of Asian conquests dating back 400 years.