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Posted November 20, 2000
I would like to commend Ms Reid for this excellent book. In general it is well written and easy to follow and some chapters on the Great Famine of 1932/1933 (the Ukrainian Holocaust), the Chornobyl (not the Chernobyl), and the present day economic situation were exceptionally presented. But there are some historical inconsistencied. Just because there was no country called UKRAINE in the 10-th cent, it does not mean that the present day Ukraine is not the inheritor of the Kyevan Rus (refer to historians, such as Hrushevsky, Subtelny, Doroshenko,etc). Same may be said about Ireland (dominated by England for 700 yrs) and Finland (dominated for centuries by Sweden and Russia). The Kyevan Rus of the 10-th cent. was one of the most powerful countries in Europe (it also included Crimea).The state of Muscovy started its beginning in the 12-th cent., and later on in the 17-th cent. changed its name to Russia; it had nothing to do with the Kyevan Rus.After mongolian invasion in the 12-th cent., this state moved West and became the Galycian/Volynian Princedom and under Danylo became kingdom (coronated by the pope in the 13-th cent). This kingdom existed for almost 200 yrs until it was absorbed by Poland/Lithuania. So, by stating that the Ukrainian state did not exist( in the present day Ukrainian territory) prior to 1991, it is historically incorrect. If there were no nationalistically minded Ukrainians prior to 1991,there would be no independent Ukraine today. Ditto for Ireland and Finland. Now if one agrees with Ms Reid statement that there was no independent state prior to 1991, then how could Ukrainians commit pogroms, if they were either under Russians or Poles. If there were any pogroms in the Ukr. territory during these periods, they were committed by the Russian or Polish governments. Also, as far as the Ukrainian writers go, Ms Reid was 'skimpy'; one would get impression, that besides Shevchenko and Franko, there were none. She mentions such names as Rezzori, Celan, Roth and Schudy; these names are unfamiliar in the Ukr. literature and have nothing to do with it. She forgot to mention Fedkowych ( from Bukovyna), Stefanyk, L.Ukrainka, B. Lepky, and many others.The reader assumes that Ms Reid does not converse in Ukrainian and the background info. for the book was either obtained from Russian/Polish sources or from the Russians living in Ukraine.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.