Cautious Rebel: A Biography of Susan Clay Sawitzky

Cautious Rebel: A Biography of Susan Clay Sawitzky

Cautious Rebel: A Biography of Susan Clay Sawitzky

Cautious Rebel: A Biography of Susan Clay Sawitzky

Synopsis

For sixty years Susan Clay Sawitzky struggled against the values assimilated in her youth, ideals shared by her Old World husband and American society in general. She wrote poignantly about confinement and freedom in the privacy of her study and published a small amount of poetry and art history. But she was not an exceptional woman; she could not take the risks necessary to achieve the degree of success she coveted. The detailed record she left reveals the forces, both subtle and complex, that compromised her dreams and accomplishments. Lindsey Apple employs nearly seventy years of Susan Clay Sawitzky's personal letters and poetry to reconstruct the world of a woman seeking modernity with "the millstone of tradition" upon her shoulders.

Excerpt

The American intervention in Siberia during the Russian Revolution and civil war left no lasting effects on the region, other than a legacy of bitterness and mistrust for future Soviet-American relations. But seventy years of Soviet-American rivalry has obscured the fact that, during the Russian Revolution and civil war, Siberia had been a focal point in the United States's struggle against the rival powers to recast the international economic and political order. This forgotten dimension of the American intervention in Russia represented a sophisticated foreign assistance program. It now deserves careful reevaluation in view of the important lessons it can provide for contemporary American policymakers who are struggling to devise effective policies for post-Soviet Russia.

In 1918, the decisive year of the calamitous world war, American statesmen were deeply concerned that the Russian Empire would be divided into German and Japanese spheres of influence. The origins of World War I itself lay in the rivalry over spheres of influence in semidependent developing regions, such as China, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East. The collapse of the Provisional Government in Russia at the end of 1917 intensified this rivalry among the remaining powers by transforming the Russian Empire itself into an arena in this global struggle between imperial systems. During the extraordinary years 1918 and 1919, when a political vacuum existed in the empire, Germany, Japan, Britain, and France all pursued policies in Russia . . .

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