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ZINSERLING, Vladimir.

Oroshenie na Amu-Darie [Irrigation on the Amu Darya].

Moscow: The Management of Hydraulic Works in Central Asia, 1927 Stock Code: 121726
£6,250.00
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The irrigation of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan - the Soviet agricultural exploitation of Central Asia

First and only edition, just 2000 copies, rare, no copies traced on WorldCat. Immensely detailed logistical study towards large-scale irrigation schemes for the agricultural exploitation of the extensive steppes of Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. This copy a superb association copy inscribed in purple ink on the title page by the author: "To Academician S.G. Strumilin. Much esteemed Stanislav Gustavovich, in sending you this book of mine I ask that you also accept my deepest apologies for the fact that it was written in pre-collectivisation era, and in my technical suggestions I was forced to use scarce economic base due to the ascetic economy of the time. With deepest regard the author. 28/XI/1947". Stanislav Strumilin (1877-1974) was one of the most important Soviet economic theorists of the time. A Bolshevik from 1899, he was crucial in the development of the Soviet planned economy; "The expedient marshalling of economics to salvage politically determined measures, which characterised his considerable output, was exemplified during the earliest phase of the Soviet system, 'War Communism'" (The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics).

The author, Vladimir Zinserling (1884-1954), was an interesting figure, a widely travelled and versatile scientist, he spent his youth working on American ships plying the Pacific and Atlantic, later finding employment in California and Colorado as an engineer where he developed a specialism in irrigation. In 1920s under the pressure of five-year plans, collectivisation and headlong industrialisation, research was begun into massive schemes for the effective irrigation of Central Asia, Zinserling pursuing the possibilities of the Amu Darya, the legendary Oxus. These schemes were partly realised from the 1930s to 50s resulting in a boom in Central Asian agriculture. The present work provided the scientific and economic background for these developments, the Amu Darya being used to create two major irrigation channels, but with drastic consequences today; "The Soviet plan to maximise one ecosystem service - fresh water - at the cost of many others proceeded, and the 1930s saw the construction of a system of irrigation canals. Crop production rose as irrigated areas in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan jumped from 6.4 million acres to 15.9 million acres over two decades, employing millions of people in the region. But with its major inflows being diverted for irrigation, the Aral Sea began shrinking in the 1960s. By 2005, it had lost more than half of its surface area, exposing nearly 30,000 km2 of lake bed, and nearly three-quarters of its volume" (Bennett, "Disappearance of the Aral Sea", World Resources Institute, retrieved 04/10/2017). An excellently provenanced copy of this scarce and influential, if somewhat baleful, book

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Description

Octavo. Wire-stitched in the original brown cloth, bevelled boards, title in gilt to spine and front board, linen hinges.

Illustrations

Title pages in Russian and English, 48 illustrations from photographs to the text, over 50 sketch maps, some full-page, numerous tables to the text, two coloured folding graphs.

Condition

Just a little rubbed, spine lettering oxidised, the spine itself slightly creased, marginal browning of the text, but remains very good.

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