Between East and West: Across the Borderlands of Europeby Anne Applebaum
An extraordinary journey into the past and present of the lands east of Poland and west of Russia - an area defined throughout its history by colliding empires, and only now emerging from the clamp of Soviet rule. Traveling from the former Soviet naval center of Kaliningrad on the Baltic to the Black Sea port of Odessa, Anne Applebaum encounters a rich range of… See more details below
An extraordinary journey into the past and present of the lands east of Poland and west of Russia - an area defined throughout its history by colliding empires, and only now emerging from the clamp of Soviet rule. Traveling from the former Soviet naval center of Kaliningrad on the Baltic to the Black Sea port of Odessa, Anne Applebaum encounters a rich range of competing cultures, religions, and national aspirations as inhabitants of the borderlands attempt to build a future grounded in their ancestral legacies. In reasserting their heritage, neighbors often unearth old conflicts: in Vilnius, a Lithuanian professor charts a historical conspiracy against his language by the Poles, while his Polish neighbors rail against the Lithuanian determination to deny their ancient claims to the city. In Minsk, a young "post-modernist" couple, seeking a rallying point for Belarusian nationalism, piece together cultures and legends to create tradition where none is remembered, while another resident of the city devotes himself to recovering the Jewish culture that once predominated. Rich in surprising encounters and vivid characters, Between East and West brilliantly illuminates the soul of the borderlands and the shaping power of the past.
- Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- 1st ed
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An interesting nonfiction work. Basically a travelogue of Eastern Europe lands which have been in dispute and turmoil for centuries. Mass slaughter and cultural cleansing by Nazis and Stalinists are the most recent instances of the mayhem that has historically befallen the borderlands. Author Applebaum takes the reader for a journey from the Baltic down to the Crimea and while traveling visits a variety of locales in the borderlands area. Most interesting in terms of the character portrayals and the history of the places she stops in. I enjoyed the book immensely and find that my interest in visiting some of those locales has been piqued. Pick it up and enjoy the author's smooth style and intelligent telling of a corner of the world both magical and horrific.