Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine Paperback – 2 Apr 2009
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An extremely vivid history of the Ukraine, a politically and culturally rich collection of borderlands
From the Back Cover
Borderland tells the story of Ukraine. Centre of the first great Slav civilisation in the tenth century, and divided between warring neighbours for the next thousand years, Ukraine finally won independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Bigger than France and as populous as Britain, it has the potential to become one of the leading states of Europe. Talking to peasants and politicians, rabbis and racketeers, dissidents and paramilitaries, survivors of Stalin's famine and of Nazi death camps, Anna Reid combines historical research and her own experiences to dissect the bloody and controversial past of this little-known land.
'If you think you couldn't be interested in Ukraine - and I thought I couldn't - you should read this book' Matthew Parris, A Good Read, Radio 4
'A beautifully written evocation of Ukraine's brutal past and its shaky efforts to construct a better future Borderland is a tapestry woven of the stories of all its inhabitants, recording their triumphs and their conflicts with the fairness of a compassionate outsider' Financial Times
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Isbn: 1 84212 722 5See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
What makes Anna Reid`s book such a great achievement is the way she is able to transform what could have been a pretty stodgy historical account into a jolly good read. At times it verges on the anecdotal yet one is never far from a well documented tragic flip side.
The book narrates the Ukraine history from its earliest known beginnings, and the advent of the Scandinavians who became the Rus, but does it through the eyes of a modern observer visiting Ukrainian cities and places, so the history is interwoven into the current way of life and the current state of Ukraine and its towns and peoples. We travel from Kiev to Kamyanets Podilsky, to Donetsk and Odessa, to Lviv, Chernivsti and so on. This gives a real immediacy to the narrative which made it eminently readable, as well as remarkably informed and interesting. The author's interactions with people in the towns is recorded, and their impressions of their own history adds to the narration of facts and people.Read more ›
Reid traces the history of this country from the early Viking invaders and Lithuanian empire right up to Chernobyl, independence and the first free democratic elections and the rule of President Leonid Kuchma. To do this Reid relies upon secondary sources but this history is none the worse for that, being aimed at the general reader rather than the academic.
The picture of Ukraine is not flattering but the writing is so vivid that the reader can form a very clear image of the various places visited, from the once cosmopolitan Odessa to the somewhat staid, run down and boring Kiev. Reid does not flinch from describing the `Great Hunger' of the 1930s Stalinist collectivisation and forced food requisitioning which resulted in widespread starvation, to the widespread executions of the Nazi Einsatzgruppen and on to the further post war Soviet terror purges. A picture of a country completely traumatised by many decades of some of the worst atrocities that modern regimes have unleashed emerges from the pages of this gripping book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good history coverage, but the travel guide-style introductions/references are annoying.
The fact that it was written BEFORE the current chaos could/should have been... Read more
Ukraine warts and all. Some moments of dark humour and a lot of suffering. Its quite a story and its far from over.Published 1 month ago by Jim
A gripping history from the perspective of Ukraine itself. Long overdue. Well written. Thoroughly enlightening. Explains so much so clearly.Published 8 months ago
Helps the reader appreciate current difficulties in this region. An interesting and enjoyable read for the non specialistPublished 8 months ago by Amazon Customer
A book I had already owned but misplaced. Perhaps not as erudite as far thicker tomes printed by the University of Chicargo press, but a well written synopsis of a piece of Eastern... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Anatoli