Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2015-10-26
- Reviewer: Staff
Injecting appropriate nuance and complexity into a single-volume overview of 2,000 years of Ukrainian history is no small task, but Plokhy (The Last Empire), the Mykhailo Hrushevsky professor of Ukrainian history at Harvard University, approaches this charge with dexterity and skill. Plokhys analysis is a comprehensive narrative, touching upon the myriad factors that figured into the establishment of the Ukrainian state and a Ukrainian national identity. He also introduces readers to the seemingly endless barrage of threats to both of these constructs, from without as well as within. Plokhys strongest inquiry may well be in his epilogue, where he engages the forces of history at play regarding the most recent bout of political instability gripping Ukraine. He asserts that the Russian annexation of Crimea, as well as Russian support of so-called separatist movements crippling the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, are continuations of a centuries-old narrative, the roots of which are evident throughout his discussion of the tenuous historical relationship between the two countries. Though interested readers must look elsewhere for deeper examinations of Ukraines role in European and world history, Plokhys work serves as a welcome introduction to Ukraines ethnic and national history. Maps. Agent: Jill Kneerim, Kneerim, Williams, and Bloom. (Dec.)