From award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe is the definitive history of Ukraine that helps us understand the country's past and the current crisis.
At the western edge of the Eurasian steppe, caught between Central Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, Ukraine has long been the meeting place of empires - Roman to Ottoman, Habsburg to Russian - that left their imprint on the landscape, the language and the people.
The frontier between Islam and Christianity created a class of ferocious warriors known as the Cossacks, while the encounter between the Catholic and Orthodox churches led to a religious tradition that bridges Western and Eastern Christianity.
Ukraine has been a home to millions of Jews, serving as the birthplace of Hassidism - and as one of the killing fields of the Holocaust. In The Gates of Europe, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy examines the history of Ukraine's search for its identity, bringing together some of the major figures in Ukrainian history: Prince Yaroslav the Wise of Kyiv, whose daughter Anna became queen of France; the Cossack ruler Ivan Mazepa, who was immortalized in the poems of Byron and Pushkin; Nikita Khrushchev and his protege-turned-nemesis Leonid Brezhnev; and the heroes of the Maidan protests of 2013 and 2014, who embody the current struggle over Ukraine's future.
As Plokhy explains, the recent conflict with Russia is a tragic case of history repeating itself, as Ukraine once again finds itself in the centre of a battle of global proportions.
Fascinating and multilayered, The Gates of Europe is the essential guide to understanding not just Ukraine's past but also its future.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 432 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/12/2015
- Category: European history
- ISBN: 9780241188088