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. Nope, the professions were not for him. He loved the... 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 with both the idea of “civil society” and this explanation.... Read More
Padraic Kenney, “1989: Democratic Revolutions at the Cold War’s End” (Bedford-St. Martin’s, 2009)
There are certain dates that every European historian knows. Among them are 1348 (The Black Death), 1517 (The Reformation), 1648 (The Peace of Westphalia), 1789 (The French Revolution), 1848 (The Revolutions of 1848), 1914 (The beginning of World War I), 1933 (Hitler comes to power), and 1945 (The end of... Read More
Timothy Snyder, “The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of A Habsburg Archduke” (Basic Books, 2008)
Tim Snyder has written a great book. It’s called The Red Prince: The Secret Lives of A Habsburg Archduke (Basic, 2008). Of course it’s thoroughly researched. Tim’s read all the literature and visited all the archives. Of course it’s historically revealing. Tim’s told a story that no one has told... Read More
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