Mark Edele

Aug 13, 2023

Russia's War Against Ukraine

The Whole Story

Melbourne University 2023

"That Russia and Ukraine have diverged politically so radically since 1991 is partially due to their position vis-à-vis the imploded empire they emerged from," writes Mark Edele in Russia's War Against Ukraine: The Whole Story (Melbourne University Publishing, 2023).

As its subtitle suggests, this short work - "a book by an outsider written for outsiders" - has big ambitions to explain the immediate, long-, and very long-term reasons for the war. How did two so similar yet so different nations emerge? How can “outsiders” separate national myths from true origin stories? Who started the war and how will it end?

Mark Edele is a Russianist who became - in his own words - a historian of the Soviet Empire largely due to his "encounter with Ukraine and its history". Hansen Chair in History at the University of Melbourne, he was born and raised in southern Bavaria and educated at the universities of Erlangen, Tübingen, Moscow, and Chicago, where he completed his doctoral research on Soviet World War II veterans under Sheila Fitzpatrick.

*The author's own book recommendations for the Writers' Writers tip sheet are German Blood, Slavic Soil: How Nazi Königsberg Became Soviet Kaliningrad by Nicole Eaton (Cornell University Press, April 2023) and The Rider by Tim Krabbé (Bloomsbury Paperbacks, 2016 – first published 1978).

Tim Gwynn Jones is an economic and political-risk analyst at Medley Advisors, who also writes the twenty4two newsletter on Substack and hosts the In The Room podcast series.

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