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Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine Paperback – 2 Apr 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Phoenix; New Ed edition (2 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842127225
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842127223
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 958,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

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

UK £7.99
CAN $17.95

Cover photograph: [Details to follow]

Isbn: 1 84212 722 5

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on 17 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
I am a Ukrainian from Kyiv myself and I purchased the book while searching for a guide to my country for some friends of mine, who plan to visit. I would like to commend the author on her good work - the book is well-written and quite captivating (I started flipping through the pages and ended up reading the entire book). Also, it is clear a lot of background research went into it. Finally, I am thankful for the book as such as there is so little popular information on Ukraine published yet. Couple of clarifying remarks are still in order, in my opinion. Firstly, the depiction of Ukraine in the book is quite dated. Kyiv, for one, has changed dramatically since ten years ago (when the material of the book was gathered) - mostly for the better. Also, invariably for a non-scientific history book, a lot of views and perceptions of the author are subjective. That's what makes the book interesting and readable, but also that is why the book should not be used as a proper guide to a Ukrainian history (The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation by Andrew Wilson is one of my picks, apart from the classical history books published by Ukrainian historians). My final comment is that Anna Reid seems to have discovered many Ukraines - Polish, Russian, Austrian, Jewish, Romanian ones (reflecting my country's history and the wonderfully diverse ethnic and cultural heritage), but I feel that Ukrainian Ukraine is yet to be fully discovered and appreciated by the author... Perhaps Anna should come and visit Ukraine again and update the book?
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By A Customer on 25 July 2002
Format: Paperback
When colleagues at work found me reading a book about Ukranian history they thought I had gone round the bend. At best they considered that I was just showing off. Before to long, however, it was these very same people who would steal it off me and quote extracts to their friends.
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.
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Format: Paperback
With the Ukraine featuring so prominently in the news in the last few months, I decided that I was woefully uninformed about this country and its history. It seemed to be quite difficult to find histories of the Ukraine region specifically. I suppose partly that may be because Ukraine itself has not existed as a separate entity for much of its history, and partly because not many works may be written on the region in English. Either way, I was glad to find this book, written by a journalist who was the Kiev correspondent for the Economist and the Daily Telegraph, and who lived in Kiev for three years. Published first in 1999, this does not have the most up-to-date activities in the region, but nevertheless I felt offered a very great introduction to a region which has a very complex history of many ethnicities, cultures and politics.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent, very well written and thoroughly engaging book about the heartbreaking history of the Ukraine. `A Journey Through the History of Ukraine' refers to the fact that Anna Reid has chosen not to produce a linear history of this vast country (although it does progress forwards), but to travel to each of the very different regions and trace their individual history and how each relates with the whole country. In so doing Reid describes her actual visits to the different regions and her present day (1993-6) impressions with reflections on the history of these diverse areas. In so doing the reader is given a very vivid impression of the country and its people, perhaps much more so than a straight historical narrative would have provided.
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.
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