A Whole Empire Walking
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A Whole Empire Walking

Refugees in Russia during World War I
Peter Gatrell
Distribution: World
Publication date: 3/14/2005
ISBN: 978-0-253-00302-7
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“. . . a signal contribution to a growing literature on a phenomenon that has become tragically pervasive in the 20th century. . . . This highly original account combines exemplary empirical research with the judicious application of diverse methods to explore the far-reaching ramifications of ‘a whole empire walking.’” —Vucinich Prize citation

“An important contribution not only to modern Russian history but also to an ongoing repositioning of Russia in broader European and world historical processes. . . . elegantly written . . . highly innovative.” —Europe-Asia Studies

Drawing on previously unused archival material in Russia, Latvia, and Armenia and on insights from social and critical theory, Peter Gatrell considers the origins of displacement and its political implications and provides a close analysis of humanitarian initiatives and the relationships between refugees and the communities in which they settled.

Author Bio

Peter Gatrell teaches modern European history and economic history at the University of Manchester, where he is presently Professor and Head of Department. His previous books include The Tsarist Economy 1850-1917 and Government, Industry and Rearmament in Russia, 1900- 1914.


"Gatrell's scholarly study is based on archival and other sources and includes 72 pages of endnotes. It stresses analysis rather than narrative and reflects the influence of postmodern thinking indebted to Michel Foucault. In a useful appendix on population statistics, Gatrell suggests that the total number of refugees in Russia by mid, 1917 was more than seven million. The author is especially interested in the social identities of refugees, how they perceived themselves and were viewed by others, including military and civilian authorities. He emphasizes that few refugees were able—bodied men; one of his chapters deals with refugees and gender. He also examines the special refugee circumstances of nationalities such as the Armenians, Jews, Latvians, and Poles. Besides endnotes, the work also contains maps and interesting photographs. Recommended for academic and large public libraries. Smaller libraries should first make sure they possess Critical Companion to the Russian Revolution, 1914, 1921, ed. by Edward Acton et al. (CH, Apr'98), which contains 67 essays on a wide range of subjects, including one by Gatrell that succinctly presents many of the conclusions spelled out in greater detail in his new book. All levels." —W. G. Moss, Eastern Michigan University, Choice , July 2000

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Humanity Uprooted
1. War and the Origins of Involuntary Displacement
2. The Politics of Refugeedom
3. Resettlement and Relief of Refugees
4. Consolidating Refugeedom
5. Refugees and Gender
6. Refugees and the Labor Market
7. Refugees and the Construction of "National" Identity
8. Revolution and Refugeedom
Conclusion: The Meanings of Refugeedom
Appendix 1. Refugee Population Statistics
Appendix 2. Questionnaire Issued by the Tatiana Committee, January 1917