The Gates of Europe: A History of Ukraine
By Serhii Plokhy
2017 / 397 pages
read by Ralph Lister 15h 20m
rating: 9.5 / Europe history
So many things I didn’t really pick up on as I learned the history of Russia in college and reading on my own. I’d considered Ukraine to be that part of Russia where Kyiv lived and flourished. (Kiev when I was in school.)
So I started this rather quickly not really comprehending anywhere near everything because in my head I was still thinking the old way – which I thought had just started in 1991 or so, when they split from the Soviet Union. Um… duh??? I don’t know what I thought now. Kiev was alway Russia to me, where Russian Christianity was born, where the Mongols took over destroying Kiev, and where the Cossacks rode. I thought it was all Russia with the writers and politics. (Oh I’m of the same generation as Putin I guess.)
Anyway, this is an excellent history of a chunk of the territory between the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea and the Adriatic Ocean – what is now known as Ukraine. It’s well written and kind of smoothes out the complex history of the area. It’s scholarly but still kind of a page-turner but one where you get involved in this section or that.
Yes, it includes everything from Herodotus to Putin and that’s a lot of fascinating history.
There is a western (Ukraine) bias in that Plokhy doesn’t defend Russia for its recent actions. Reading the whole thing it all leads up to today (as it should) but I’m curious if Russia has much of a defense. (I don’t think so.)
I’m going to have to read this again for any real depth of understanding.