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Traversing a thousand years of the region's history, Willard Sunderland recounts the complex process of Russian expansion and colonization, stressing the way outsider settlement at once created the steppe as a region of empire and was itself constantly changing. Sunderland's approach to history is comparative throughout, and his comparisons of the steppe with the North American case are especially telling. This book eloquently expresses concern with the fate of the world's greatest grasslands.