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Publisher's Summary

Eastern Europe has long been thought of as the "Other Europe", a region rife with political upheaval, shifting national borders, an astonishing variety of ethnic diversity, and relative isolation from the centers of power in the West. It has also been, and continues to be, pivotal in the course of world events. A History of Eastern Europe offers a sweeping 1,000-year tour with a particular focus on the region's modern history. In 24 insightful lectures, you'll observe waves of migration and invasion, watch empires rise and fall, witness wars and their deadly consequences - and come away with comprehensive knowledge of one of the world's most fascinating places.

In examining this region's remarkable diversity and contested borders, you'll better understand the ever-present tension between the connections between East and West and the areas of marked contrast. These disparities were clear as the world globalized and the US and Soviet superpowers jockeyed for spheres of influence - epitomized by the imposition of the Iron Curtain across Europe and the rise of the Berlin Wall. And yet, throughout the 20th century and into current times, the connectedness of Eastern Europe to the rest of the world continues to be demonstrated beyond question. This region has made itself felt across the globe through:

  • The political and cultural reverberations of peace movements and armed conflicts
  • The crises of huge population migrations and the new expressions of cultural and economic exchange they spark
  • The successes and struggles of NATO and the European Union
  • And more

Explore the grand sweep of this epic history, from a series of early invasions to the rise of empires to the collapse of communism and into the new challenges of the 21st century. Meet brilliant poets, writers, artists, and other cultural figures who made an impact on Eastern European history.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2015 The Great Courses (P)2015 The Teaching Company, LLC

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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"MODERN" History of Eastern Europe

Any additional comments?

Very frustrating that this was billed as a "sweeping 1,000-year tour" when the focus was entirely on the past century. Lecturer was excellent, however.

35 of 35 people found this review helpful

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Not much history

Any additional comments?

Just dissapointed that the lectures moved so quickly to WWI and WWII. Glazed over a myriad amount of history so they could talk in depth about 20th century history. Which just plays to audiences not really interested in eastern european history but, how eatern europe relates to western europe and american audiences....just dissapoimted but, execution was excellent.

45 of 53 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Chris
  • Ballston Spa, NY, United States
  • 05-15-16

A good book but not what I was looking for

This was an interesting history of Eastern Europe. It wasn't really what I thought it would be though. I was looking for more information about ancient and medieval eastern Europe. This is not the lecture series for that. There ar 24 lectures (iirc) and by lecture 9 he was already talking about Hitler. This should really be titled a History of Eastern Europe during the Cold War, because that was the focus.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Quaker
  • United States
  • 03-05-16

A fascinating tour through a rich and complex history

Professor Liulevicius is an international treasure and I am grateful that The Great Courses is able to bring him to me on my iPhone. His courses on espionage and on history's greatest voyages of exploration are among my favorite titles on Audible.

BUT Eastern Europe is his specialty, and so I was really looking forward to this series. I wasn't disappointed. In fact, I learned surprising things about my own heritage.

I will admit there were moments when I wished I was watching the video version. I've seen bits of it, and the maps illustrating the constantly changing borders of Eastern Europe are very helpful; but if you know the geography, or if you are able to look up a map to glance at while listening (as I did), then you'll be more than satisfied with this rich and nuanced tour of a fascinating part of the world.

Highly recommended.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Not A Very Serious History

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

Not likely

Any additional comments?

This is a very poor history of Eastern Europe in that while it talks a lot about cultures and national stories and consciousnesses, it does little to explain why the major events in Eastern Europe's history happened. There is no economic analysis whatsoever, and so while the listener comes away knowing which poets came from which regions et cetera, the listener does not understand how Eastern Europeans actually lived, and how their livelihoods transformed over the centuries. It does not talk about the Industrial Revolution, or the Emancipation of the Serfs in Russia, or anything of the sort. It talks a lot about the rise of nationalism without saying anything about which economic groups and classes fought for nationalism. I understand that there is limited time to lecture, but not even a cursory explanation was given. Without addressing things like these, even if the listener picks up certain facts about Eastern European history, the listener does not come away with any better understanding of why these things happened.

33 of 39 people found this review helpful

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An Exceptional History

Very few sources give an in depth but understandable telling of Eastern Europe. For many and me included, Eastern Europe fell into the age old stereotype of backlands. I now know the area as a vibrant and history rich area, even more history than you can really point at Western Europe in many cases. Fierce resistance, solid self determination. This audio book is a must read if you enjoy history and learning.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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History You Cannot Do Without

Would you consider the audio edition of A History of Eastern Europe to be better than the print version?

The audio version served my purpose, and that was to learn about Eastern European history as we drove on our holiday trip for ten hours at a time. I was mesmerized with the content and the presentation.

What did you like best about this story?

The sheer scope of Eastern European history is almost impossible to grasp, and only a series of lectures like this can get even a small part of the story across. It is no surprise that Eastern Europeans have different outlooks from those in the West. This series is a great start in putting the background of the current happenings in Eastern Europe and Russia into a current day perspective. The Ukranians, Poles, Czechs, and others have all been there before, multiple times. From Stalin, to Hitler, to Milosevic and other butchers, times have changed, but the memories linger. Is Putin then next international mass murderer?

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Robert
  • CONCORD, NH, United States
  • 01-09-16

Essential Listening

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Of Lithuanian and Ukrainian Descent it occurs to me that i wish I had this as a kid. In my recent DNA Testing I got Eastern European, Balkans and Italian (Maternal Grandfather). Much of the turmoil in my view was created by the west. So Genetically I have Relatives in Lithuania, Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Hungary, Italy,Russian... Eastern European

What was one of the most memorable moments of A History of Eastern Europe?

the history on the polish-lithuanian commonwealth.

Which scene was your favorite?

The hope in the closing of the lecture series

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

All of it

Any additional comments?

A must read of anyone with Eastern European Descent

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Excellent Overview of the Region

What did you love best about A History of Eastern Europe?

Well-balanced treatment with respect to eras, regions, individual figures, and historical trends.

What other book might you compare A History of Eastern Europe to and why?

Prof. Liulevicius' lectures on the history of espionage and covert operations uses a similar style and is similarly well-conceived and delivered.

What about Professor Vejas Gabriel Liulevicius, PhD’s performance did you like?

Efficient delivery with a personable style, and effective use of both solemnity and humor.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent

I am planning to visit several Eastern Europe countries this spring and found this very interesting and informative. Having my paternal grandparents come from this area made understand there desire to come to America. Though there life was full
Of hard work here there was more peace and freedom here then they would have in there own countries.

Would recommend this lecture series

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 11-20-15

Insight into an often overlooked part of the world

As a Western European, I've always wanted to know more about my Eastern European neighbours. Although I have listened to some courses that feature Eastern Europe, it's always been in the context of another part of history, such as Russia or the First World War. This time, however, the story is really about Eastern Europe itself.

Prof. Liulevicius is clearly enthausiastic about the subject, and delivers a good mix of large-scale political and societal developments and stories about individuals, including some anecdotes about his own experiences in the places he talks about.

I think the professor does a good job dispelling some of the common stereotypes about the region, like the notion that people in the Balkans "have always been killing each other at the drop of a hat". As it turns out, the Balkans have also seen long periods of peaceful coexistence and intermingling of different ethnic groups.

If you're like me, and want to get a deeper understanding of a part of the world that's often overlooked or grossly simplified, this is the course for you.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • cole
  • 04-07-16

Incredible: strong focus on modern history

I enjoyed it immensely however it seemed to focus too much on the 20th century for me and ignored quite a lot of the fascinating history of the region from an earlier time

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-28-18

Really good overview

Enjoyed it from beginning to end...
Highly recommend to anyone with an interest in European history.

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  • Mr J A G Lees
  • 01-26-18

Good read but a lot to fit in

Very good audio book, but this does try to fit a lot of history into a short time.

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  • muovikassi88
  • 05-20-17

Changed my perceptions

This set of lectures changed my perception of the region drastically, to a more positive and diverse picture.

The professors style is at times a bit overly dramatic, but once you get over that you will get an accurate and relatively unbiased account of a fascinating past and recent history.

Highly recommended, especially if you live in Europe like I do.

The only slightly neglected parts in the region were Moldova, Transnistria and Bulgaria, all mentioned but too shortly from my point of view.

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  • Roberts
  • 03-19-17

Really interesting and informative.

Thought the subject matter was covered clearly and succinctly. I liked the anecdotes and extra details such as the jokes and recommended reading. I would recommend to anyone with an interest in history, politics or Eastern Europe.

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  • Martin
  • 02-11-17

Excellent!

I was sceptical I have to admit but I must say, this is an excellent introduction to the history of Eastern Europe and it makes one ask the question: What is Eastern Europe even? Some historians might argue that this book doesn't go deep enough. Fair enough. I highly recommend this book to everyone, especially Europeans, to realise that we have a shared history across all European lands. And what's more, we have an even greater future, together!

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  • Goronwy-Wyn
  • 12-30-16

And now I have to listen again....

Well put together review of the huge subject of East European history well worth the time and very detailed.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-24-16

loved it

bittersweet rediscovery of my Eastern European identity. plan to visit some of these countries soon. this course does an amazing job analyzing and explaining why Eastern Europe is so different from the west even now 25 years from the collapse of the communist regime.

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  • Mat
  • 04-24-16

great listen

I've listened to a few courses in the series and this has been one of my favourites!

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  • Liine
  • 04-04-17

Brilliant

A very captivating telling of an extremely complex subject. interesting even for an Eastern European 😉

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 12-05-15

Great story and great lecturer, not biased.

As I was born in one of the countries from this region I didn't find the lecturer untruthful at any point. Very good first half of the course, the second part of the most recent history, although no lie has been told, it is to volatile topic to remain unfinished.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Terry Boyd
  • 08-17-17

Excellent

Having studied only western European history (and married a Polish girl), I was eager to learn more of "the other Europe" and that from a perspective different to that of the great Russian writers many of us read at school. Filled the bill beautifully.