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The Gates of Europe

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'An indispensable guide to the tragic history of a great European nation' David Blair Sunday TelegraphLocated at the western edge of the Eurasian steppe Ukraine has long been the meeting place of empires Roman to Ottoman Habsburg to Ru This book was a

characters À eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ´ Serhii Plokhy

Ssian 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 Vi overall interes

Serhii Plokhy ´ 8 characters

Kings in the tenth century to the current Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine and annexation of Crimea Fascinating and multilayered The Gates of Europe is the essential guide to understanding not just Ukraine's past but also its future Very thorough e

  • Paperback
  • 432
  • The Gates of Europe
  • Serhii Plokhy
  • English
  • 05 March 2018
  • 9780141980614

10 thoughts on “The Gates of Europe

  1. says:

    While I have long heard that the maternal side of my family came from Ukraine in the 1930s I was not old enough to ask the poignant uestions to those who made the journey while they were still alive While it is not entirely necessary to understand the political and social rationale my curiosity has always been uite high to better understand what led these people to flee and settle throughout Saskatchewan in Canada’s Prairie West A recent topic in my reading challenge pushed me to explore some of my ancestral roots which paved the way to better understand Ukraine as a country a political entity and a society While I may not discover all the answers I seek Serhii Plokhy wrote a fairly comprehensive history of the region giving me a greater understanding of my ancestral homeland leaving me many new uestions that will have to be answered through further research Plokhy begins his exploration by discussing the territory that would eventually become Ukraine as being vast and open unbordered in the modern sense Various groups settled in the region leaving their marks including Neanderthal mammoth hunters the Norsemen Vikings Cossacks and various others These groups sought not necessarily to overtake the territory but to offer influential marks in defence arms and primitive political assembly Plokhy pushes through the centuries uite effectively with the Ottomans entering the fray as well as an early Russian Empire both sueezing the land that would be called Ukraine in a time Interestingly enough the influence of these outsider empires helped formulate a cultural mix and a people who referred to themselves as the Rus’ though a number of other names have been given to these people as Plokhy discusses for the interested reader Plokhy goes into much greater detail in the early part of the book about many of the cultural and social entities that wove the early fabric of the Rus’ people should the reader wish to indulge in this discussion With politics and geography always evolving the Rus’ found themselves influenced by these two strong willed groups as the Hapsburgs came along and laid claim to other European neighbours adding new and flavourful influences to the region A seminal event in Ukrainian—and world—history would have to be the Great War where empires fell and territory was handed out like sweets at a party The Rus’ people now seeing themselves as Ukrainians saw the potential to seek independence during a movement of removing past shackles Interestingly enough as the Russian Revolution came to pass Ukraine sought to declare itself autonomous as well but did not have the military or political might to stand entirely alone as they soon discovered Rather they had the ever powerful Bolshevik Russia breathing down their neck and uashing any hopes of independence Plokhy explores an interesting perspective at this point with army general Stalin wanting Ukraine to fall under the Russian umbrella in this new collective but Lenin felt it better to make them a Ukrainian people developing the other USSR Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic As part of this vast republic Ukraine became the second largest of all the republics even as other countries began eating away at their borders—namely Poland Russia and Czechoslovakia—in the inter war years Stalin’s rise to power saw him flex his muscle and turn to the Ukrainians punishing them by taking all their agricultural offerings and starving them out A pogrom if ever there was one this Great Famine was Stalin’s way of turning Ukraine into a great republic though one can only imagine how beating them down would help them Plokhy notes that the Ukrainian lands were also uite sought after when the Nazis arrived in the early 1940s to invade Russia Hitler spent significant time in Ukraine laying the groundwork for a key cog in the Nazi wheel with its plentiful fields and the like though many readers will know what happened to the Nazis They did however leave their mark alongside Stalin in ridding the region of Jews carting them off to camps and luring robust Ukrainian men away from the country to work in Germany By the Cold War years Ukraine was a staple part of the Soviet republics but after Stalin’s death the bloodletting seemed to taper off as numerous other leaders utilised Ukraine as one of the key pillars in keeping the region afloat Soviet Party influence waned for the latter years of the USSR and was completely obliterated with the disintegration of the Soviet Empire in 1991 On wobbly legs Ukraine emerged as independent for a time supported by democratic elections and recognition around the world Plokhy offers an interesting narrative about some of the revolutionary elections that led Ukrainian politicians to push back However with Putin sitting in the Kremlin Ukraine was soon being meddled with once again Putin pushed for Russian backed parties to win elections and went so far as to overturn elections in the Crimean Region installing a party that had not garnered much support by the people—surely blatant and doable as social media and collusion tactics were not needed as in North America Plokhy leaves open the possibility that Russia and Ukraine with lock horns again over a variety of issues including the latter’s ability to remain independent He asks the curious reader to keep an open mind as things progress politically hoping that the world will not let a Russian fist erase democracy However if they can put a Russian agent into the White House one can only imagine they can do so anywhere A brilliant piece of writing that gives the reader a great overall view of the region’s development and casts light on some of the current skirmishes with Russia over the Crimea sure to be a highly controversial battle for years to come Recommended to those who wish to learn about Ukraine without getting bogged down in the minute history of the regionAs I mentioned before I wanted a little something that would open my eyes to some of my ancestral roots as well as offer me the history and politics of a region about which I know so little Plokhy does this in an even handed manner mixing social cultural and political history together in an easy to digest format The book tries not to skim but it is almost impossible to delve in too deeply and still offer up a book that can be carried from one place to another Plokhy’s arc of Ukrainian history opens the discussion but never does he profess to having all the answers or to be the final word on the matter While I refuse to call it a primer this book does lay some basic foundations for those who want to learn Plokhy’s writing style is also easy to comprehend offering readers lots of information in a relevant format Depending on the topic at hand chapters can be short or detailed permitting to reader to extract what they want before moving along Written in English there was little I felt I might be missing at the hands of a translator which helped me feel confident in my reading though I am sure Plokhy has been able to thoroughly research the topics in their original languages as well as relying on other historians who have taken the leap before him While the region may not be of interest to all I can see many readers learning a great deal even if they chose only to read key chapters in the book lead up to the Great War through the the Cold War fallout While I never promote ‘parachuting’ into a book I admit this was the section that interested me most and allowed me to extract a great deal of information to whet my appetite and cultivate a stronger understanding of familial roots I suppose I will have to see if I cannot better comprehend what led my family to leave Ukraine and settle in Saskatchewan The Prairie West does have a strong Ukrainian population and Plokhy has given me some good ideas why this might be the caseKudos Mr Plokhy for enlightening me on this subject I feel better versed and am eager to tackle some of your other work which I see deals with other regional interest of mine This book fulfils Topic#3 Show Your Roots in the Euinox #6 Reading ChallengeLovehate the review? An ever growing collection of others appears at Book for All Seasons a different sort of Book Challenge

  2. says:

    This book was a challenge for me I have wanted to learn about Ukraine since I heard about the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 I finally got the chance to do it Ukrainian history is full of invasions violence and empires from the Austrian polish German and soviets It has been defined by multiethnic cultures and by a conglomeration of citizens that shared a language but not a culture it has managed to survived the oppression of its language both written and spoken by the Soviet Union ever since WW 2 in this book you will find that for good or bad Ukrainian history is linked to Russian history as Ukraine has fought for its sovereignty it has clashed with Russia many times before therefore a knowledge of Russian history is needed to enjoy this book better but not necessary since the author does a good job of introducing all of these concepts step by step in a very detailed manner I recommend this book to anyone who tries to understand current relations between Russian and the rest of the world as Ukraine is the ground where it has been tested for the first time

  3. says:

    The Gates of Europe A History of Ukraine was a tough read for me To preface my family is of Ukrainian heritage and I am always interested in learning about Ukrainian culture and history Serhii Plokhy has not itched that scratch for me The Gates of Europe is a short book for something so ambitious and it really begins to show as one reads Massive details that would have been fascinating to read in depth are glossed over The book is just too ambitious for its own good Entire centuries are covered in a few pages Only a chapter or two is dedicated to the fascinating time period of Greek and Roman colonization of the Crimea Tartar and Steppe tribes are relegated to foreign others and ignored only being mentioned as untrustworthy allies of the valiant Cossack Tribes in their struggle against foreign aggression from Poland the Ottomans and Muscovy The Cossack's received much coverage than most of the rest of history with another large chunk dedicated to modern and politically uestionable material Plokhy had an axe to grind with this book and he did it It was a timely release due to the Russian backed war in Eastern Ukraine that began to gather steam in 2013 It is also politically charged with Plokhy pulling no punches in his discourse on Ukrainian and Russian conflict and interdependence throughout historyHe goes to great length as well to talk about the cultural differences that developed between the Rus of Kiev and the Rus in Muscovy and the religious and cultural changes that occurred under the tutelage of the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth The desire for independence throughout history did not always exist but Ukraine developed its own national identity throughout history due to its connections to other European states and its closeness to the Turkic and Tartar tribes that inhibited the Crimean region These were the interesting parts of the book Even so there is little that I can say to recommend this book to anyone It is far too politically charged to be a serious history book The edition I read had literally zero sources There are hundreds of statements in this book that are uestionable and biased and I would love to see the sources to allay my suspicions Huge portions of fascinating historical periods are glossed over to play off the Ukrainian Russian rivalry that will sell copies of this book It is difficult for me to say anything as I enjoyed this book so little I urge any readers to only pick this up if they are inclined to do so for political reasons There are many facts that will be interesting to those who interested in historical background to current events However as a serious history book and one written by the chair of Ukrainian history at Harvard University no less this is a poor excuse

  4. says:

    The Gates of Europe A History of Ukraine Basic Books 2015 by Serhii PlokhyA good history of Ukraine and its changing lands from Kievan Rus' through the Mongol invasion through the changing power of Galicia–Volhynia Poland Lithuania the Cossack Hetmanate the Ukrainian SSR and into modern Ukraine Good reading from anyone wanting a comprehensive and up to date history of Ukraine

  5. says:

    overall interesting but somewhat unbalanced there are some periods treated in detail and some almost skipped and the narrative is not as smooth in other similar books; some stuff I was only marginally aware of and sometimes not at all and a reasonable introduction to a topical subject

  6. says:

    “The Gates of Europe” is a well timed and excellent book that shows once again that history repeats itself and how it relates to the present Ukraine is in the headlines as it fights to protect itself from yet another invasion from Russia As Serhii Plokhy points out in this book – this invasion of Crimea and eastern Ukraine is just another in a long list of Russian attacks on the very existence of Ukraine that goes back hundreds of years This book is than just a history of Ukraine and its people – it’s also describes the language culture and religion of people who have been under some type of foreign domination for most of its history Plokhy paints a picture of Ukraine through the centuries with its beginnings as Kyiv Rus in the 10th century and takes us on a journey through time through the Cossak Hetmanat in the 17th century to the formation of Ukraine as an independent nation In many ways the Ukrainian people had to endure a litany of horrors culminating in the Holodomor famine of 1932 1933 when millions of Ukrainians died of starvation directly caused by Stalin The Ukrainian independence of 1918 and 1919 did not last long and the proclamation of independence in 1941 was crashed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Russia Nevertheless the Ukrainian Insurgent Army fought into the mid 1950s against the Soviets and independence finally came when the Soviet Union collapsed That independence is again being threatened by Putin who seeks to rebuild the Soviet Union again This ongoing battle will go long way in seeing if Europe is going to be dragged into a future where armed invasions of neighboring countries becomes the normUkrainian history is not simple but the book does a great job in describing the differences in religion culture nationalities and language within one country The constant re alignment of borders reuires a whole set of maps to show exactly how Ukraine came to be I places it may be difficult to follow all of the nuances that impacted the past but the book is well worth reading just to understand what is happening now in Eastern Ukraine and why it is so significant for Europe and the world

  7. says:

    I read this book to try and gain a much deeper understanding of the current military and political situation with the Ukraine and the Russian FederationThe first half of the book deals with the history from prehistoric times up to the start of the 20th century This was really than I wanted to know about Ukraine but the second half of the book was exactly what I wanted to know to understand why Vladimir Putin intends to retake the Ukraine as the first step in fulfilling his promise to restore the Soviet UnionThis is also a sad book to read because it is clear that Western Europe and US have no intentions of defending the Ukraine from the Russian takeover What a great pity for the Ukrainian people who have striven for so long to have an independent country only to be swallowed up once again by Russian imperialism

  8. says:

    Very thorough engagingly written history of the development of Ukraine as a people a nation and a country

  9. says:

    I moved this book up on my ueue when I read a recent review in the Economist I generally enjoyed the book but also note it limitations The book presents a history of the Ukraine from its beginnings in classical times up to the present conflicts since 2014 I have to admit that I learned something from this book and that I must reevaluate how I look at Ukraine and Russia and all the dynamics that have developed since Communism went out of businessProfessor Plokhy has shown the complex history of the Ukraine a history that involves geography language religion politics culture national identity economics and war If anything this is about as complex a national story as one will ever find complicated than Irish history although that may be a distinction without a difference and one that certainly fits into to Russian and Eastern European history It is a broad history and Plokhy has much to say The depth of this history however makes one wonder about what has been left out to tell the story Every chapter could easily be expanded Recognizing the linguistic and cultural domains being explored here there are few scholars who could have written such a readable book Plokhy is clearly in love with his subject and that makes this a better book Acknowledging that however makes me wonder what a discussion would be like between Plokhy and a Russian history scholardevotee I suspect there would be differences in perspective The complexity of the story is such that I was left wondering about how far one should go in telling a national story such as this one The values of a solid historical and cultural identity are alluring but contentions around such histories especially when tied to ongoing political struggles have often gotten violent and destructive It is not always clear that the costs of pursuing such contested national identity are worth the results On the positive side however it prompt a second look at the conflicted US national story although the costs of our 19th century identity forging wars against each other are still with us Plokhy has convinced me however that we have not experienced the end of history in the Ukraine by a long shot

  10. says:

    Solid history although I lost interest after WWI That's not the book's fault I am not in the mood for uite this much history all at once

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