‘A fascinating and often violent odyssey, spanning more than 1,000 years of conflict and culture’
Flat, fertile, and fatally tempting to invaders, for centuries Ukraine was fought over by more powerful neighbours. Though its modern national movement dates back to the early nineteenth century, it did not win real independence until 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Since then, Ukrainians have proved themselves one of the world’s most remarkable nations. In 2014 mass demonstrations forced out a corrupt pro-Russian president. Russia responded by invading, first seizing Crimea and the eastern Donbass, and then in February 2022 marching on Kyiv. With Western help, Ukraine is fighting back. But in what form it will emerge from the war – the bloodiest in Europe since 1945 – remains to be seen.
For this fourth edition of her classic history, Anna Reid returns to the scene. Talking to refugees, politicians and victims of widespread Russian war crimes, she adds a new chapter to the complex biography of a country on the frontline of the conflict between democracy and dictatorship.