Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy provides an authoritative, systematic and absorbing survey of Ukraine’s complex history. He shows that Ukraine – which impelled the exiled Greek poet Ovid to exclaim, “How near I am to the ends of the Earth!” – is anything but marginal. It was the birthplace of Russia, the center of the Orthodox Reformation and the “breadbasket of Europe.” Now it is the center of a battle over the reach of Western influence. Ukraine’s name means “borderland,” and for millennia its lands demarcated East and West, Catholic and Orthodox, Europe and Asia. Ukraine has long been a crossroads, its culture a multiethnic contact zone. In the complex history of Eastern Europe, Ukraine’s borders have shifted again and again, through treaty, war, partition and annexation. Plokhy’s chronology gives evenhanded attention to each phase of Ukraine’s past, from ancient times to today’s conflict. Readers seeking a thorough account of current events and politics must look elsewhere, but getAbstract reckons this volume will satisfy those seeking to understand the intricate play of forces that gave rise to today’s Ukraine.
About the Author
Serhii Plokhy is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard, the director of the university’s Ukrainian Research Institute, and the author of nine books on Ukraine and Russia, including The Last Empire: The Final Days of the Soviet Union.
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