Dave R. Stone
author of "The Russian Army in the Great War: The Eastern Front, 1914-1917"
author of "After Perfect: A Daughter’s Memoir"
Executive Producer & Host
Dave R. Stone, author of "The Russian Army in the Great War: The Eastern Front, 1914-1917"
David Stone began his research on Russian and Soviet military history at the beginning of the 1990s, just when previously inaccessible archives and historical documents first became available to scholars. Since that time, he has written extensively on the role of war in Russian history while teaching history at Kansas State University. His work has been recognized with awards and prizes from the Historical Society, the History News Network, the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and the Society for Military History.
A full century later, our picture of World War I remains one of wholesale, pointless slaughter in the trenches of the Western front. Expanding our focus to the Eastern front, as David R. Stone does in this masterly work, fundamentally alters—and clarifies—that picture. A thorough, and thoroughly readable, history of the Russian front during the First World War, this book corrects widespread misperceptions of the Russian Army and the war in the east even as it deepens and extends our understanding of the broader conflict.
Of the four empires at war by the end of 1914—the Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman, German, and Russian—none survived. But specific political, social, and economic weaknesses shaped the way Russia collapsed and returned as a radically new Soviet regime. It is this context that Stone’s work provides, that gives readers a more judicious view of Russia’s war on the home front as well as on the front lines. One key and fateful difference in the Russian experience emerges here: its failure to systematically and comprehensively reorganize its society for war, while the three westernmost powers embarked on programs of total mobilization.
Context is also vital to understanding the particular rhythm of the war in the east. Drawing on recent and newly available scholarship in Russian and in English, Stone offers a nuanced account of Russia’s military operations, concentrating on the uninterrupted sequence of campaigns in the first 18 months of war. The eastern empires’ race to collapse underlines the critical importance of contingency in the complete story of World War I. Precisely when and how Russia lost the war was influenced by the structural strengths and weaknesses of its social and economic system, but also by the outcome of events on the battlefield. By bringing these events into focus, and putting them into context, this book corrects and enriches our picture of World War I, and of the true strengths and weaknesses, triumphs and successes of the Russian Army in the Great War.
Christina McDowell, author of "After Perfect: A Daughter’s Memoir"
Originally from McLean, Virginia, Christina McDowell currently resides in Los Angeles with her dog, Zelda Fitzgerald. She volunteers for InsideOUT Writers, a nonprofit for children impacted by the criminal justice system.
A “searing memoir of loss and redemption” (People) that “exposes the side of The Wolf of Wall Street we didn’t get to see” (Metro), After Perfect is a cautionary tale about one family’s destruction in the wake of the Wall Street implosion.
Selected as one of the year’s “Fifteen Books You Need to Read” by the Village Voice, Christina McDowell’s unflinching memoir is “a tale of the American Dream upended.” Growing up in an affluent Washington, DC, suburb, Christina and her sisters were surrounded by the elite: summering on Nantucket Island, speeding down Capitol Hill’s rich back roads, flying in their father’s private plane. Their life of luxury was brutally stripped away after the FBI arrested Tom Prousalis on fraud charges. When he took a plea deal as he faced the notorious Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort’s testifying against him, the cars, homes, jewelry, clothes, and friends that defined the family disappeared before their eyes, including the one thing they could never get back: each other.
Christina writes with candid clarity about the dark years that followed and the devastation her father’s crimes wrought upon her family: the debt accumulated under her identity; her mother’s breakdown; her own spiral into addiction and promiscuity; and the delusion that enveloped them all. She shines a remarkable, uncomfortable light on a family’s disintegration and takes a searing look at a controversial financial time and also at herself, a child whose “normal” belonged only to the one percent. A rare, insider’s perspective on the collateral damage of a fall from grace, After Perfect is a poignant reflection on the astounding pace at which a life can change and how blind we can be to the ugly truth.