Morten Strand: Ukraine: the border country between east and west
Cappellen Dam, 2015
Richard Sakwa: Frontline Ukraine
Carnival publisher, 2015
Dagbladet journalist Morten Strand's book Ukraine – the border country between east and west is characterized by great storytelling and solid historical background knowledge. Chapter by chapter, it presents an exciting account of the development of the country from the Viking Age until today. Strand's background as a journalist shines through in that he has a good ability to communicate and a poetic language. It makes great impression to read about the famine triggered by Stalin's forced collectivization of agriculture at the beginning of the 30 years and the Nazi extermination of Jews, Communists and Gypsies ten years later. But it is also interesting to find out how the Soviet Union, before and after Stalin, encouraged the use of Ukrainian language, and that four of the secretaries-general of the Soviet Communist Party – Khrushchev, Breshnev, Andropov and Chernenko – all had Ukrainian backgrounds.
One-sided understanding. Despite his solid historical knowledge, Strand nevertheless shows a rather one-sided understanding that the current conflict is due to contradictions between a "pro-Russian" eastern Ukraine and a "European" and "modern" western Ukraine, as well. . .
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