Richard C. Hall, “The Modern Balkans: A History” (Reaktion Books, 2011)
Some parts of the world seem to suffer from rather too much history. The Balkans, that mountainous peninsula situated between the Black Sea and the Adriatic, is most certainly one of them. Perhaps it’s because the Balkans stands on so… Read More
Matthew Kelly, “Finding Poland: From Tavistock to Hruzdowa and Back Again” (Jonathan Cape, 2010)
Very little illustrates history as well as the personal story. For all of the wars, deportations and suffering of the mid Twentieth Century, it’s only when there are real people that the figures come alive. Luckily there are some very… Read More
Michael A. Reynolds, “Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1908-1918” (Cambridge UP, 2011)
Most of us live in a world of nations. If you were born and live in the Republic of X, then you probably speak X-ian, are a citizen of X, and would gladly fight and die for your X-ian brothers… Read More
Yohanan Petrovsky-Shtern, “The Anti-Imperial Choice: The Making of the Ukrainian Jew” (Yale UP, 2009)
I’ve got a name for you: Robert Zimmerman (aka Shabtai Zisel ben Avraham). You’ve heard of him. He was a Jewish kid from Hibbing, Minnesota. But he didn’t (as the stereotype would suggest) become a doctor, lawyer, professor or businessman.… Read More
Stephen Kotkin, “Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment” (Modern Library, 2009)
Why did communism collapse so rapidly in Eastern Europe in 1989? The answer commonly given at the time was that something called “civil society,” having grown mighty in the 1980s, overthrew it. I’ve always been more than a little uncomfortable… Read More
Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial