The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine
Plokhy (Serhii)
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Penguin Book Description

  1. Located at the western edge of the Eurasian steppe, Ukraine has long been the meeting place of empires - Roman to Ottoman, Habsburg to Russian - and they all left their imprint on the landscape, the language and the people living within these shifting borders. In this authoritative book, Harvard Professor Serhii Plokhy traces the history of Ukraine from the arrival of the Vikings in the tenth century to the current Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. Fascinating and multi-layered, The Gates of Europe is the essential guide to understanding not just Ukraine's past but also its future.
  2. Serhii Plokhy is professor of history at Harvard University and a leading authority on the Cold War and nuclear history. His books include the Baillie Gifford award-winner Chernobyl: History of a Tragedy, Nuclear Folly, The Gates of Europe and The Last Empire.

Amazon Book Reviews
  1. The most distinguished historian of Ukraine writing in English. . . Mr Plokhy shows how Ukrainian language, culture and identity flourished in adversity -- which helps explain why, though they have only recently achieved a state of their own, Ukrainians are fighting heroically to defend it
    → Economist
  2. The world's foremost historian of Ukraine. . . the chronicler of a country on the front lines of a seismic European war
    → Financial Times
  3. A great place to start reading up on the background to the crisis. . . learned and considered, but lightly written and leavened by anecdotes
    → Oliver Bullough, Guardian
  4. Clear and elegant... an indispensable guide to the tragic history of a great European nation
    → David Blair, Sunday Telegraph
  5. A fast-moving history, full of prompts and nuggets... a strong rebuttal of the arrogant assumptions of the Putin court
    → Roger Boyes, The Times
  6. Admirable... In his elegant and careful exposition of Ukraine's past, Mr Plokhy has also provided some signposts to the future
    → Economist
  7. An assured and authoritative survey that spans ancient Greek times to the present day
    → Tony Barber, Financial Times
  8. Plokhy's careful, engaging history is a series of stories about a spectral nation, one that has appeared and disappeared down the ages... If sense ever prevails, Plokhy's fine book should find its way to Vladimir Putin's desk, if only to show the imperialist that Ukraine itself is far from done, and will not be extinguished
    → Ian Bell, Herald Scotland
  9. Readers can find no better place to turn than Plokhy's book... He navigates the subject with grace and aplomb
    → Foreign Affairs
  10. A concise, highly readable history of Ukraine... a lively narrative peopled with a colorful cast of Norse and Mongol marauders, free-booting Cossacks, kings, conquerors and dictators, and conflicted 19th century intellectuals who believed fervently in a Ukrainian cultural identity but were fatally divided as to how that cultural identity could evolve into national entity
    → Washington Times
  11. An exemplary account of Europe's least-known large country... one of the joys of reading it is that what might seem a dense account of distant events involving unfamiliar places and people is leavened by aphorism and anecdote
    → Wall Street Journal
  12. Complex and nuanced, refreshingly revisionist and lucid, this is a compelling and outstanding short history of the blood-soaked land that has so often been the battlefield and breadbasket of Europe
    Simon Sebag Montefiore
  13. This is present-minded history at its most urgent. Anyone wanting to understand why Russia and the West confront each other over the future of Ukraine will want to read Serhii Plokhy's reasoned, measured yet passionate account of Ukraine's historic role at the gates of Europe
    → Michael Ignatieff
  14. For a comprehensive, engaging, and up-to-date history of Ukraine one could do no better than Serhii Plokhy's aptly titled The Gates of Europe. Plokhy's authoritative study will be of great value to scholars, students, policy-makers, and the informed public alike in making sense of the contemporary Ukrainian imbroglio
    → Norman M. Naimark

    Maps – ix
    Introduction – xix
    1. The Edge of the World – 3
    2. The Advent of the Slavs – 13
    3. Vikings on the Dnieper – 23
    4. Byzantium North – 31
    5. The Keys to Kyiv – 41
    6. Pax Mongolica – 49
    1. The Making of Ukraine – 63
    2. The Cossacks – 73
    3. Eastern Reformations – 85
    4. The Great Revolt – 97
    5. The Partitions – 109
    6. The Verdict of Poltava – 119
    1. The New Frontiers – 133
    2. The Books of the Genesis – 147
    3. The Porous Border – 161
    4. On the Move – 175
    5. The Unfinished Revolution – 187
    1. The Birth of a Nation – 201
    2. A Shattered Dream – 215
    3. Communism and Nationalism – 229
    4. Stalin’s Fortress – 245
    5. Hitler’s Lebensraum – 259
    6. The Victors – 277
    1. The Second Soviet Republic – 291
    2. Good Bye, Lenin – 307
    3. The Independence Square – 323
    4. The Price of Freedom – 337
    Epilogue:The Meanings of History – 347
    → Acknowledgments – 355
    → Historical Timeline – 357
    → Who’s Who in Ukrainian History – 367
    → Glossary – 373
    → Further Reading – 375
    → Index – 381

Book Comment

Penguin; 1st edition (1 Dec. 2016). Paperback.

Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2022
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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