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
(read and listened)
First review at: https://mybecky.blog/2020/05/21/the-gates-of-europe-by-serhi-plokhy/
As promised, I read this a second time because although it is truly a wonderful book, painstakingly researched and brilliantly written, it’s dense. The question of how to cover 3000 years of history in 350 pages of narrative is one problem but another problem Is that these 300 pages are written for a lay readership (such as myself) interested pretty much only because if the news in he past several years (although I’ve been mildly interested since college). What’s going on in this remote little place which used to be in the Soviet Union but seems to have problems with the western world as well as Putin’s Russia.
The second reading I got a whole lot more out of it simply because I knew at this point that my old ideas about Kiev being Russian as much as St. Petersburg were out of data and it was the whole story leading up to independence which was important.
So surprising because instead of a bone dry dusty tome Plokhy has written a fast paced and fascinating account of life on the Black Sea, between the steppes and the forest, and between Orthodox and Roman. And Ralph Lister, the reader, has brought it to life.
There are no source notes but I think Plokhy is so expert in his field that he, by himself, can be considered a source, like Mary Beard for her book, SPQR. There are plenty of other resources available including a chapter by chapter guide to “Further Reading.”