Readership: Academics and students of Russian history and of environmental history
David Moon, Anniversary Professor, Department of History, University of York
David Moon is a specialist on Russian history. In recent years his research has focused on environmental history in a transnational context. He combines conventional historical research in archives and libraries with field work in the environments he studies. He has spent much of his career teaching at universities in the north of England and Scotland. He also has extensive experience of both Russia and the USA. He studied for a year at Leningrad State University in what was then the Soviet Union, and makes regular visits to
Russia and Ukraine, including the steppe region, for research and field work.
"Rare is the book that casts Russian history in an almost wholly new light." - Financial Times 2013 Books of the Year
"Moons book is a wonderful and thoroughly researched analysis of the (not yet finished) processes of the scientific understanding of and agricultural adaptation to an environment that was once foreign to Russian farmers, but now iconic of them." - Douglas Weiner, European Review of History
"Moon's book is an extremely important contribution to Russian and environmental histories, and can be used in advanced undergraduate as well as graduate courses." - Mark Bernard Tauger,
American Historical Review
"The Plough That Broke the Steppes is an important contribution to the global history of grassland ... Moon's work is both immensely readable and scholarly with a broad historical sweep and interdisciplinary scope. He brings life to scholarly, scientific, and practical agricultural debates on the steppes" - Elizabeth Walden, Environmental History
"This stimulating book is the first environmental history of the Russian steppe, a flat plain that stretches from Western Russia to Mongolia, north of the Black and Caspian Seas ... Recommended." - N.M. Brooks, CHOICE
"In this impressively researched
and compellingly argued book, David Moon elevates this problem of what to do with the fertile yet fragile belt of grasslands in Russia's south to one of the enduring 'cursed questions' of the country's history ... Throughout the book Moon evokes his personal experiences on the steppe. These environmental encounters clearly aided his historical thinking and provide vivid examples for the reader. Coming to know the grasslands themselves helped him write this insightful and lasting contribution to environmental and imperial Russian history." - Andy Bruno, History
Part I: Understanding the Steppe Environment
1: The Eyes of Outsiders
2: The Lens of Science and Statistics
Part II: Understanding Environmental Change
Introduction: Who is to Blame?
4: Climate Change
5: The Land
Part III: Combating the Steppe Environment?
Introduction: What is to be Done?
6: Tree Planting