Eastern Europe!: Everything You Need to Know About the History (and More) of a Region that Shaped Our World and Still Does

Eastern Europe!: Everything You Need to Know About the History (and More) of a Region that Shaped Our World and Still Does

by Tomek Jankowski


View All Available Formats & Editions
Eligible for FREE SHIPPING
  • Want it by Friday, October 26  Order now and choose Expedited Shipping during checkout.


Eastern Europe!: Everything You Need to Know About the History (and More) of a Region that Shaped Our World and Still Does by Tomek Jankowski

When the legendary Romulus killed his brother Remus and founded the city of Rome in 753 BCE, Plovdiv—today the second-largest city in Bulgaria—was thousands of years old. Indeed, London, Paris, Berlin, Vienna, Madrid, Brussels, Amsterdam are all are mere infants compared to Plovdiv. This is just one of the paradoxes that haunts and defines the New Europe, that part of Europe that was freed from Soviet bondage in 1989, and which is at once both much older than the modern Atlantic-facing power centers of Western Europe while also being much younger than them. Eastern Europe! is a brief and concise (but informative) introduction to Eastern Europe and its myriad customs and history.

Even those knowledgeable about Western Europe often see Eastern Europe as terra incognito, with a sign on the border declaring “Here be monsters.” Tomek Jankowski's 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. It is a reader-friendly guide to a region that is all too often mischaracterized as remote, insular, and superstitious.

The book comprises three parts, The first sums up modern linguistic, geographic, and religious contours of Eastern Europe, while the second, main part delves into the region's history, from the earliest origins of Europe up to the end of the Cold War. Closing the book is a section that makes sense of geographical name references -- many cities, rivers, or regions have different names -- and also includes an "Eastern Europe by Numbers" feature that provides charts describing the populations, politics, and economies of the region today. Throughout are boxed-off anecdotes ("Useless Trivia") describing fascinating aspects of Eastern European history or culture.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780985062323
Publisher: New Europe Books
Publication date: 10/29/2013
Pages: 624
Sales rank: 641,354
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Tomek Jankowski⎯who was raised in a Polish family in Buffalo, New York⎯worked, studied, and traveled in Poland, Hungary, and other regions of Eastern Europe from the late 1980s to the mid-1990s, gaining a functional literacy of several languages in the process. He holds a degree in history from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Currently he is a senior analyst at a research firm that specializes in producing market analysis for the management consulting world, where he has authored numerous reports focusing on Eastern Europe and other emerging markets regions, as well as the financial services industry. Married to a native Pole, he lives in Londonderry, New Hampshire and still spends time in Eastern Europe.

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii

Introductory FAQ xv

Acknowlegments xx

Table o' Figures xxii

Section I 1

A Few Words About a Word 2

A Note on Pronunciation 5

A Word (or Two) about Time 5

Languages 9

Geography 24

Religion 32

Section II 45

Introduction: A Prehistory 46

Introduction: History 51

Introduction: Classical Eastern Europe 57

Chapter 1 Setting the Stage, 500-800 CE 68

A Western Rome 68

B The Avars 73

C The Slavs 74

D The First Slavic States 75

E The Bulgars 77

F The Dacians and Vlachs 78

G The Khazars 80

H (A Bunch of) Finns and Baits 82

Special Insert: The Steppe 85

Chapter 2 The Origins of States, 800-1242 CE 88

A The Franks 88

B Moravia Magna and Bohemia 94

C The Bulgarians 96

D The Rus 97

E The Magyars/Hungarians 100

F The Slovenes and Croatians 103

G Duklja, Raška, and the Serbs 104

H The Poles 105

I The Pechenegs 110

J The Cumanians 110

K The Lithuanians 111

L The Finale: 1239-42 111

Special Insert: Peoples of Eastern Europe-The Jews 117

Chapter 3 The Medieval Years, 1242-1600 CE 120

A The Mongol Empire, the Golden Horde, and Tartars 123

B Bulgaria 126

C Serbia 126

D Montenegro 128

E Bosnia & Herzegovina 129

F Croatia 130

G The Republic of Ragusa/Dubrovnik 130

H Albania 131

I The Byzantine Empire 133

J The Ottoman (Turkish) Empire 135

K Wallachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania 137

L Hungary 140

M Bohemia 143

N The Teutonic Knights and Schizoid Prussia 145

O Lithuania and the Eastern Slavs 148

P Livonia and the Baits 149

Q Poland as Catalyst 151

R Novgorod, Muscovy, and the Russians 154

S Halych-Volhynia: A Kingdom in Galicia 157

Special Insert Peoples of Eastern Europe-The Germans 159

Chapter 4 The Dawn of a New Age, 1600-1800 162

A Bohemia 162

B The Principality of Transylvania 166

C Wallachia and Moldavia 168

D Montenegro 169

E The Swedish Empire 170

F The Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth 173

G The Ukrainians and Belarussians 179

H Ottoman Empire 183

I Russia 186

J Of Austrians and Habsburgs 192

K Prussia 195

Special Insert: Peoples of Eastern Europe-The Gypsies 199

Chapter 5 The Very, Very Long 19th Century, 1800-1914 202

A Introduction 203

B The Ottoman Empire as Doorstop 208

C Serbia's Front Row Seat 213

D Montenegro Hits the 19th Century 218

E Romania is Born 218

F Bulgaria's Raw Deal 222

G Albania as Accident 225

H The Italian Risorgimento and Irridentism 227

I Pan-Germanism and How Fritz (and Helga) Got their Mojo 228

J Pan-Slavism and Pie in the Sky 231

K The Austrian Dilemma and Hungary 233

L Russia, the Hope and Prison of Nations 240

M Dawn of the Dead: The Poland That Just Won't Go Away 247

Special Insert: Peoples of Eastern Europe-The Muslims 253

Chapter 6 The Great War, and a Magic Year, 1914-1939 257

A The War 258

B Paris, 1919 263

C The Ottoman Empire Goes Out in Style 265

D Austria-Hungary as a Bug on the Windshield 268

E Serbia and History 272

F Montenegro is Pushed Off the Cliff 274

G The Failed Superstates I: Yugoslavia 274

H Bulgaria Tries 1913 Over Again 277

I The Failed Superstates II: Romania 280

J Albania: Let's Try That Again 283

K Hungary Loses the War … Again 285

L The Failed Superstates III: Czechoslovakia 289

M Ukraine: With Friends Like Tlxese 294

N Belarus Gets Its 15 Minutes … Literally 298

O Libre Baltica: Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia 299

P Russia and How Russians Do Change 303

Q The Failed Superstates IV: Poland 310

Chapter 7 Wax! 1939-45 317

A The War as You Probably Don't Know It 321

B About the Numbers Used in this Chapter 326

C An Overview of the War 328

D Poland and The Art of Not Being 331

E The Baltics and a Bad Neighborhood 336

F The Czech Lands Revert to the 17th Century 339

G Slovakia Is Born, Sort of 342

H Hungary Embraces Its Inner Tar Baby 343

I Romania Guesses Wrong 346

J Yugoslavia, Serbia, and 1914 All Over Again 349

K Croatia's Dark Side 351

L Albania Tries to Keep Its Head Above Water 353

M Bulgaria: Third Time a Charm? 355

N The Soviet Union Wins by Knockout in the 9th Round 357

O The Holocaust 362

Special Insert: Home is Where the Border is! 368

Chapter 8 The Frying Pan, the Fire, etc., 1945-92 374

A Introduction: The Cold War, or This Town Isn't Big Enough 379

B The Warsaw Pact: the Farm Animals Unite 388

C Yugoslavia: Exit, Stage Left 392

D Albania as an Island 395

E Bulgaria Finally Gets Something in Return 398

F Romania Goes Off the Deep End 401

G Hungary and Its Food-Based Ideologies 404

H Czechoslovakia, Just East of Eden 409

I East Germany as the Runt of the Litter 413

J Poland, the Perennial Pain in the Butt 417

K The Soviet Union, Keeping Up with the Joneses 425

Chapter 9 Easy Come, Easy Go: 1989-92 433

A Introduction: Ashes to Ashes, We All Fall Down 436

B Poland and the Ghosts of 1980: The First Steps 438

C The Hungarian "Refolution" 440

D East Germany Goosesteps into Oblivion 441

E Elvis is Dead, but Czechoslovakia Goes Velvet Anyway 443

F Bulgaria Knows Peer Pressure When It Sees It 445

G Asking for a Light in the Romanian Powderkeg 446

H Albania and Frost in Hell 447

I Playing Fiddle on the Deck of the Titanic: the Soviet Union 450

J Libre Baltica, Part II 452

K Agonia: The Many Deaths of Yugoslavia 452

Epilogue 461

Reference 469

Musical Chaixs, or Place Names in Eastern Europe 469

Eastern Europe in Numbers 472

Mrs. Jankowska's Homemade Pierogis 498

Notes 501

Bibliography 545

Index 565

About the Author 598

What People are Saying About This

“Compact, inclusive, and accessible, this book is an enjoyable and thorough account of the Eastern European past. In contrast with historical narratives that insist on gravely recounting the past as a succession of sorrows, where audiences are bid to suffer alongside the victims of history, Tomek Jankowski’s Eastern Europe gives a refreshing view of the region’s history using a more fully human embrace of the comedic, serving to personalize this past.” — Nate Weston, Seattle Central Community College

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews

Eastern Europe: Everything You Need to Know About the History (and More!) of a Region that Shaped Our World and Still Does 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Pat_from_Norfolk More than 1 year ago
This is a delightful book! I purchased it thinking it would be a reference book for an upcoming trip to Eastern Europe. I expected to extract bits of information as I went about my travels; however, once I started reading it, I was hooked. I read it cover to cover. The author included just the right mixture of facts and light, interesting tidbits to cause the reader to want more at each turn of the page. I appreciated all the little extras, such as his explanations as to the pronunciation of unfamiliar names. The "Useless Trivia" sidebars are often fascinating scraps of information. I recommend this charming book to historians and non-historians alike.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Everything you need to know about the history of eastern Europe...and more. This is a very comprehensive history of a region of the world that is highly relevant to Europe's transformations of the past century or more and yet, shrouded in mystery for most westerners.  In this highly readable and very entertaining book, Mr. Tomek Jankowski pulls back the curtain of mystery and takes the reader on a fascinating and sometimes humorous romp  through the region's history. Along the way, he takes detours- "Useless Trivia" he calls the sidebars (yet there's nothing useless about these additional factoids)- to add dimension and color to an already colorful history.  Whether you anticipate a visit to Eastern Europe or just want to expand your knowledge of that part of the world and it's relation to  the the west, this book is a must-read.