Even those knowledgeable about Western Europe often see Eastern Europe as terra incognita, with a sign on the border declaring "Here be monsters." This book is a gateway to understanding both what unites and separates Eastern Europeans from their Western brethren, and how this vital region has been shaped by, but has also left its mark on, Western Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Ideal for students, businesspeople, and those who simply want to know more about where Grandma or Grandpa came from, Eastern Europe is a user-friendly guide to a region that is all too often mischaracterized as remote, insular, and superstitious. Illustrations throughout include: 40 photos, 40 maps and 40 figures (tables, charts, etc.)
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-09-02
- Reviewer: Staff
This broad overview describes the nearly indefinable region that, until the Berlin Wall’s sudden fall, was shrouded behind the Iron Curtain—nations and peoples living amid constantly shifting boundaries in a centuries-old battleground between East and West. Well suited for academic courses, this book by consulting analyst Jankowski displays an ease and familiarity with cultural minutiae while briskly covering intense topics of genocide, religion, and Communist implosion. He intersperses sober descriptions with frequent “useless trivia” bits, covering key figures or issues—some lighthearted, some heartbreaking—under humorous titles such as “Austria-Hungary as a Bug on the Windshield.” Furthermore, Jankowski helpfully provides phonetic spellings of difficult or unfamiliar proper nouns and presents summaries and guides at each chapter’s beginning. Through it all he showcases the region’s intangible and resilient spirit—for instance, in the story of the general who prevented the looting of a national Hungarian museum in 1919 using nothing but tape, even as the bulk of Eastern Europe lay devastated by WWI. Jankowski’s history of the region serves as a welcome introduction or refresher course. 100-plus b&w illus., including maps, graphs, photos. (Nov.)