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Borderland: A Journey Through the History of the Ukraine (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 12. Mai 2000

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  • Taschenbuch: 272 Seiten
  • Verlag: Basic Books; Auflage: New ed. (12. Mai 2000)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0813337925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813337920
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 15,2 x 1,7 x 22,9 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 5.0 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (1 Kundenrezension)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 215.928 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen



Borderland tells the story of Ukraine. A thousand years ago it was the center of the first great Slav civilization, Kievan Rus. In 1240, the Mongols invaded from the east, and for the next seven centureies, Ukraine was split between warring neighbors: Lithuanians, Poles, Russians, Austrians, and Tatars. Again and again, borderland turned into battlefield: during the Cossack risings of the seventeenth century, Russias wars with Sweden in the eighteenth, the Civil War of 19181920, and under Nazi occupation. Ukraine finally won independence in 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Bigger than France and a populous as Britain, it has the potential to become one of the most powerful states in Europe. In this finely written and penetrating book, Anna Reid combines research and her own experiences to chart Ukraines tragic past. Talking to peasants and politicians, rabbis and racketeers, dissidents and paramilitaries, survivors of Stalins famine and of Nazi labor camps, she reveals the layers of myth and propaganda that wrap this divided land. From the Polish churches of Lviv to the coal mines of the Russian-speaking Donbass, from the Galician shtetlech to the Tatar shantytowns of Crimea, the book explores Ukraines struggle to build itself a national identity, and identity that faces up to a bloody past, and embraces all the peoples within its borders.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Anna Reid was the Kiev correspondent for the Economist and the Daily Telegraph and has written for the Washington Post, Financial Times, and the Spectator.

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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich Von Ein Kunde am 25. Juli 2000
Format: Taschenbuch
Having spent 6 years living in Ukraine, spanning the same period as the author, I can attest to the accuracy of this well-written introductory history book and description of the country during those turbulent and exciting years following Ukraine's declaration of independence. Borderland is a comprehensive overview of Ukraine's complex, misunderstood and often-altered history. Main events and periods have been artfully distilled and interestingly embellished with stories of the author's own experiences living in the country, providing a great deal more than just the facts, but also a taste for the rich culture of the Ukrainian people. Though the book was written several years ago and Ukraine has changed somewhat since that time, the stories are still pertinent if not 100% accurate. In all, Borderlnad is an excellent travel companion and introduction to a fascinating country well-worth exploring.
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Amazon.com: 55 Rezensionen
91 von 96 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Read, but mind the caveats! 19. September 2002
Von O. Lechnowsky - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
A book both sweet and sour. Sweet in that it is a well written book on an oft neglected yet fascinating subject. As is often the case, a foreign land seen through the eyes of a visitor, makes for an interesting, revealing, and insightful read. Sour in that the author's point of view is often jaded, cynical, and superficial.
The book is an attempt at writing about complex geopolitical history in an approachable, easy, anectdotal way, and insofar as the book is enjoyable and engaging it is successful, but there are problems with this approach.
While professing a love of Ukraine and Ukrainians, Ukrainian heroes are given short shrift - branded as reactionary nationalists or self-serving opportunists and endowed with obligatory character flaws. Meanwhile, the shadows of Russian historiography loom large over the book, apparent in the coloring of the author's viewpoints - though to her credit, she is bright enough to see through some of the more blatant propaganda which many other authors and academics have blindly accepted. Her innate skepticism comes to her rescue, though often inconsistently.
In truth, it is not completely her fault, as the Russian version of Ukrainian history is the most widespread (the victors get to write the history). That said, one would think that a book devoted to Ukraine from a post empire, post soviet outlook would want to present the facts in a less biased, more informed manner, perhaps giving the Ukrainian version of history some much needed ink to balance the several hundred years of virtual Russian monopoly on Ukrainian history.
Whether intentional or not, and contrary to the author's stated feelings, the book casts Ukraine and Ukrainians in a largely unflattering light - corrupt, inept, devious, inferior, simple, anti-semitic.....all tired Russophile stereotypes popular since the days of Catherine. Never do we get a clear idea of the Ukraine the author fell in love with, or what makes it worthy of such devotion. Reid just cannot seem to give a compliment without following it with a bit of derision. Perhaps she is afraid of seeming biased? In my opinion she went too far the other way, leaving readers with an unsavory impression of the subject of her book.
Nevertheless, read the book for enjoyment or as an introduction to Ukraine. If you are after the historical facts, read Subtelny or Hrushevsky.
58 von 65 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
An excellent introduction into Ukrainian history 4. Juni 2002
Von Ray Farmer - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
In this book, the author effectively presents the major points that have shaped the country that Ukraine is today, and presents it in an engaging style that is not only readable but that also leaves a lasting impression.
My wife is originally from Kharkov (in eastern Ukraine), and as a result, I have had the opportunity to visit the country a number of times. I felt that Reid accurately highlighted the cultural and economic differences that exist between the eastern and western parts of Ukraine, and which is a major influence in current Ukrainian politics. In the eastern half (or roughly east of the Dnieper river), Russian is primarily spoken and there is generally little animosity towards Russia. In the western half, however, Ukrainian is the language and speaking Russian can get you killed. Additionally, eastern Ukraine is more heavily industrialized than the agricultural west.
Reid also commented on how Ukrainians can switch between using Russian and Ukrainian in different social contexts and how these languages can be combined in everyday talk. My wife once told me that it would be a mark of honor on a person to be able to speak "true" Ukrainian, as opposed to limited Ukrainian with Russian words to fill in the gaps. Although Ukrainian is now the official language for the whole country, this law was made only recently and it remains to be seen how it will affect people's habits.
In the last chapter, Reid provides an interesting discussion of contemporary problems facing independent Ukraine, which primarily involve trying to stand tall in the face of neighboring Russia and make a name for themselves. Although the book was originally published in 1997, her commentary in this regard is still relevant today.
I have only two complaints with this book. First, and least important, I felt that her discussion of the events of the Russian Civil War and the end of the First World War was too rapid. This part of the book was simply a blur of dates and locations. Surely such a complicated interaction between Ukrainians, Poles, Austro-Hungarians, Germans, and Bolsheviks would deserve a more clear recount.
Secondly, and more importantly, my wife and I felt that Reid made a poor choice in the cover design for this book. A casual observer picking up this book may think that Ukraine is nothing more than a bunch of backward peasants tending to their livestock. More justice would have been done to the country by presenting a majestic scene from Kiev, or perhaps the Crimea or L'viv.
Nevertheless, this is an excellent book that concisely and entertainingly provides a good introduction to the history of Ukraine, which is sorely needed.
29 von 35 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Very readable intro to Ukraine's history and geography 25. Juni 2004
Von Tim F. Martin - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
"Flat, fertile, and fatally tempting to invaders," Ukraina as literally translated means "on the edge" or "borderland," wrote author Anna Reid in the beginning of her excellent travel, political, and historical essay on Ukraine. An independent state for the first time with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has been on the border of various empires for centuries, at various times being split between Russia and Poland (from the mid 1600s to the late 1700s), Russia and Austria (throughout the nineteenth century), and Russia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Romania (between the two world wars). The fact that Ukraine is literally a borderland has resulted in two main things she writes; a legacy of wars, purges, and other violence, and a "tenuous, equivocal sense of national identity."

Reid takes the reader on a tour of Ukrainian history beginning with the medieval Kievan Rus kingdom, a civilization that gave rise to the later Russian, Ukrainian, and Belarussian peoples and languages (though it is still debated what the exact relationship between these groups are), civilizations that really started to widen in differences when the northern Rus fell under the sway of the Mongols and the southern Rus (the future Ukrainians) became dominated by the Lithuanians. From then on Ukraine's history was often a bloody one; between 1914 and 1921 1.5 million died thanks to World War I, the Russian Revolution and subsequent civil war (during which there were two Ukrainian independence movements, both failing); the deliberate and cruel Stalin-ordered famines of 1932-1933 killed a fifth of the entire rural population or a total of 5 million people; many thousands of Ukrainians - out of a total number in the Soviet Union of 1 million executed and 2 million dying in labor camps - perished in the 1937-1938 purges; and 5.3 million died in the Second World War, or one in six of the entire population. The Chernobyl incident, which is also explored, may yet still claim lives.
Understandably lacking a national tradition (as for centuries there was no "Ukraine" nor were there "Ukrainians," with at various times Poles and Russians refusing to respect Ukrainian culture, history, or language or even at times acknowledging its existence), they have struggled to find historical figures to identify with. One figure Reid discusses at length is the Hetman Bohdan Khmelnytsky (hetman being a title), a controversial figure who has been different things to different people (to the Ukrainians he was the leader of the first Ukrainian war of independence; to the Poles he was the rebel peasant who split Poland and started the nation on its long slow decline; to the Russians he has been the man who led the Ukrainians out of Polish domination and into the arms of Muscovy). Another she explores is Taras Shevchenko, a 19th century writer that many believe single-handedly turned Ukrainian into a literary language and went a very long way - perhaps more than any other figure - into creating a sense of national identity. Another figure - though not a specific individual - Reid explores as part of the Ukrainian national conscious is the Cossack, a figure she notes that is not unlike the cowboy in the American tradition; outlaw, frontiersmen, pioneer, fighter, even ranging across the steppe in covered wagons, drawing them up in a circle against Tatar (rather than Native American) attack.
Reid tours the modern nation, showing more regionalism and variety than I knew existed in Ukraine. Far eastern Ukraine - the Donbass coal basin - is densely populated, heavily industrialized, and predominately Russian-speaking. The southern city of Odessa - on the shores of the Black Sea - is a largely unspoiled city of outdoor cafes, a city with a long multi-ethnic tradition that once attracted such persecuted minorities as Serbs, Greeks, Armenians, Mennonite Germans, and Bulgars. The far western city of Lviv is part of Galicia, a once Austrian-dominated region, home in the 19th and 20th centuries to most of Ukraine's dissidents, intelligentsia, and demonstrators. Chernivtsi, located in the shadow of the Carpathian Alps in extreme southwestern Ukraine, was ruled at various times by the Poles, Turks, Austrians, and Romanians, finally annexed by the Soviet Union in 1940, is now no longer as multi-ethnic as it once was but still a beautiful region of mountains and forests, once a favored vacation destination. She visited Crimea, a Russian-dominated peninsula that has had some difficulty believing it is part of Ukraine and a land that was once a pretty much independent Tatar state loosely associated with the Ottomans until annexed by Russia in 1783.
So what does Reid believe the future hold for Ukraine? She thinks that the future is fairly bright for the country. While it had some serious problems going into independence, some of those very weaknesses were also strengths; the somewhat fuzzy sense of national identity (nowhere as near developed as it was in the Baltic states for instance) has worked in the country's favor in dealing with the large Russian minority. Given full citizenship upon independence, despite Ukrainian being made the official state language they were not required to take language tests to vote and the state even continued to fund Russian language schools. Reid also believed that the very bloodiness of Ukraine's history in the 20th century have lead many in the nation at a personal level to shy away from war and even politics.
Where Ukraine might falter is largely in matters economic. The mid 1990s found Ukraine beset by runaway inflation and huge budget deficits, extreme difficulties in privatizing industries, and its agriculture so inefficient that 80% of all farmland produces only 50% of the total agricultural output. Perhaps worse, near epic corruption and red tape has several hampered business and foreign investment (she gives an example, where 14 different permits were required to export a sock).
All in all though, the author feels hopeful about Ukraine's future. Its long-suffering people have certainly earned a break if its history is any judge.
27 von 36 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
A wonderful and much-needed introduction to Ukraine. 25. Juli 2000
Von Ein Kunde - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
Having spent 6 years living in Ukraine, spanning the same period as the author, I can attest to the accuracy of this well-written introductory history book and description of the country during those turbulent and exciting years following Ukraine's declaration of independence. Borderland is a comprehensive overview of Ukraine's complex, misunderstood and often-altered history. Main events and periods have been artfully distilled and interestingly embellished with stories of the author's own experiences living in the country, providing a great deal more than just the facts, but also a taste for the rich culture of the Ukrainian people. Though the book was written several years ago and Ukraine has changed somewhat since that time, the stories are still pertinent if not 100% accurate. In all, Borderlnad is an excellent travel companion and introduction to a fascinating country well-worth exploring.
47 von 64 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
Totally misleading book 26. November 2006
Von Ukrainian - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch
This is a good example of a book about Ukraine written by a person with a Russian mindset - crucial points about understanding the Ukrainian culture, spirit and sense of independance are wrong. Buy and read this book if you want to know about all Russian misconceptions of Ukraine. Otherwise choose someone more knowledgeable. Two other reviewers made good points about what's wrong with the book, which you can notice even without reading it:

1) The explanation of the origin of the name of the country is wrong. This has been an issue of fierce scientific debates between true historians and pro-Russian communist pseudo-scientists who preferred to see Ukraine only as a border of the bigger Russain empire;

2) peasants on the cover of the book look really dirty, uneducated and backwards - like Ukraine doesn't have writers, scientists, cultural artifacts, national symbols over more than 2000 years of its history - well, there are millions of things she could have chosen for the cover of her book.

Sorry for the people reading this book and thinking they actually understand where Ukrainian sense of national identity and independence is coming from.
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