"Let books be your dining table, / And you shall be full of delights. / Let them be your
And you shall sleep restful nights" (St. Ephraim the Syrian).

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

New Books on Ukraine and Crimea

Paul Robert Magocsi is widely recognized as one of the leading scholars of East Slavdom. His previously published book Ukraine: An Illustrated History was just published in May of this year in an affordable paperback edition. And just before that, in March, a new study, especially timely given the events in Crimea this year and all the attention being paid to Russian antics there, was published: P.R. Magocsi, This Blessed Land: Crimea and the Crimean Tatars (University of Toronto Press, 2014), 160pp. 

About this book the publisher tells us:
A virtual island in the Black Sea, Crimea is connected to the European continent by only a narrow sliver of land. For centuries it was part of the Ottoman and Russian empires, then the Soviet Union, and today independent Ukraine. But its history goes back even farther, as is evident from a landscape filled with the remnants of cultures and peoples: classical Greeks, Goths, Byzantines, Mongols, imperial Russians, and, most importantly, Crimean Tatars.
An authoritative introduction to this fascinating region, This Blessed Land is the first book in English to trace the vast history of Crimea from pre-historic times to the present. Written by Paul Robert Magocsi, author of History of Ukraine - 2nd, Revised Edition: The Land and Its Peoples and the Historical Atlas of Central Europe, This Blessed Land will captivate general readers and serious scholars alike.
Two other studies will be emerging later this year analyzing Ukrainian realities in different contexts: in Canada, and then in the Soviet period. The first is Thomas M. Prymak, Gathering a Heritage: Ukrainian, Slavonic, and Ethnic Canada and the USA (U Toronto Press, September 2014), c. 352pp.

About this book the publisher tells us:
Since the 1970s and 1980s, the study of immigration and ethnicity has grown to become an essential aspect of North American history. In Gathering a Heritage, Thomas M. Prymak uses the essays and articles he has written over the past thirty years as a historian of Ukrainian and Ukrainian Canadian history to reflect on the evolution of ethnic studies in Canada and the United States.
The essays included in this book explore the history of Ukrainian and Slavonic immigration to North America and the literature through which these communities and their historians have sought to recapture their past. Each previously published essay is revised and expanded and several more appear here for the first time – including the fascinating story of French Canadian writer Gabrielle Roy’s connections with Ukrainian Canadians and her tumultuous affair with a Ukrainian Canadian nationalist in pre-war London.
Finally, coming out in October (according to the publisher's catalogue, but not until January 2015 on Amazon) is Matthew D. Pauly, Breaking the Tongue: Language, Education, and Power in Soviet Ukraine, 1923-1934 (U Toronto Press, 2014), c. 432pp.

About this book we are told:
In the 1920s and early 1930s, the Communist Party embraced a policy to promote national consciousness among the Soviet Union’s many national minorities as a means of Sovietizing them. In Ukraine, Ukrainian-language schooling, coupled with pedagogical innovation, was expected to serve as the lynchpin of this social transformation for the republic’s children.
The first detailed archival study of the local implications of Soviet nationalities policy, Breaking the Tongue examines the implementation of the Ukrainization of schools and children’s organizations. Matthew D. Pauly demonstrates that Ukrainization faltered because of local resistance, a lack of resources, and Communist Party anxieties about nationalism and a weakening of Soviet power – a process that culminated in mass arrests, repression, and a fundamental adjustment in policy.

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