Children's LiteratureOver the past fifteen years, enormous changes have occurred in the nations of Eastern Europe. In the mid-1980s, countries such as Poland, Hungary and Rumania were controlled by dictatorial and Soviet-dominated, communist governments. The people of Eastern Europe were generally afforded little personal freedom, had low standards of living and had enormous human rights concerns. Beginning in the late 1980s, revolutionary political changes erupted across this domain. These alterations led to significant political shifts and the formation of new states. Sadly, while the overthrow of the autocratic communist governments was a positive step toward democracy, there continue to be severe human rights issues across Eastern Europe. The most glaring examples of such abuse remains in the territory of the former Yugoslavia. In places such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Serbia and Croatia war, violence and ethnic cleansing have resulted in untold horror stories. Yet, for many Eastern Europeans, the past decade has been one that opened doors of opportunity for growth and development. In this book the reader is afforded a look at the diverse people and societies that make up Eastern Europe. Detailed information about religion, natural resources, geography and history are provided. Colorful maps highlight the territorial dimensions of this portion of the European continent. This book may serve as a valuable reference for students interested in learning more about an often overlooked part of the world. 2001, Twenty-First Century Books, $39.90. Ages 14 up. Reviewer: Greg M. Romaneck
VOYAThis readable and relevant introduction to the nations of Eastern Europe begins with a thoughtful overview of the region. Economic and historical profiles are given for seven nations plus those in the former Yugoslavia, with an emphasis on post-1989 events after the fall of Communism. Much of this information will be new to American students because social studies and history classes typically are weighted toward Western Europe. The effects of the long Ottoman rule on economic and social progress and reasons for the influence of the Catholic Church in Poland are examples of interesting topics that the author introduces. Regional geographic and political maps are placed in the middle of the book, making it awkward to refer to them when reading about individual countries. Other reference material includes flags of each nation, a chronology of events since 1989, and an encyclopedia. The latter emphasizes names and places, with a few general topics such as environmental pollution. Unfortunately, no hints on pronunciation are given. The format of the book is open and inviting but glare from the glossy white pages might be a problem. Illustrations consist of photographs that resemble scenic postcards, with a few historical shots. This title is a valuable addition to an uncrowded field, especially for the currency of its information. The Major World Nations (Chelsea House, 1997+) series includes individual volumes on some countries. Eastern Europe by Patrick Burke (Raintree Steck-Vaughan, 1997) has a broader focus but is for a younger audience. Photos. Maps. Source Notes. VOYA CODES: 4Q 2P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; For the YA with a special interest in thesubject; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Twenty-First Century, 256p. PLB $39.90. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Kathleen Beck SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
Handbook Of The New Eastern Europe is recommended for both middle school and public library collections: it packs in reference questions on Eastern European nations, blending full color maps with an encyclopedia of personalities, events and places. Country-by-country geography and basic information present over 250 pages of details. Highly recommended.
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