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Publisher's Summary

Ukraine is currently embroiled in a tense battle with Russia to preserve its economic and political independence. But today's conflict is only the latest in a long history of battles over Ukraine's existence as a sovereign nation. As award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues in The Gates of Europe, we must examine Ukraine's past in order to understand its fraught present and likely future. Situated between Europe, Russia, and the Asian East, Ukraine was shaped by the empires that have used it as a strategic gateway between East and West - from the Romans and Ottomans to the Third Reich and the Soviet Union, all have engaged in global fights for supremacy on Ukrainian soil. Each invading army left a lasting mark on the landscape and on the population, making modern Ukraine an amalgam of competing cultures. Authoritative and vividly written, The Gates of Europe will be the definitive history of Ukraine for years to come.

©2015 Serhii Plokhy (P)2015 Tantor

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Average Customer Ratings

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Superb book; poorly read

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

This is THE essential book for anyone who wants to understand Ukraine and learn why Putin is so hot and bothered by it.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Too many interesting characters to list

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Ralph Lister?

Almost anybody else. Book is great; Lister's reading is terrible. He hasn't bothered to learn how to pronounce Ukrainian names and places and mangles them. When he quotes someone he goes into a strange, strangled voice.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

The Gates of Europe is a perfect tagline

Any additional comments?

Professor Plokhy is an honest blunt historian and he goes into events some Ukrainian writers have downplayed, like the pogroms against the Jews. He gives clear explanations of complex events. He doesn't whitewash the Ukrainians and shows their bad fortune was often due to an inability to cooperate, to shrewdly plan, to a willingness to be deluded. This is the best book on Ukrainian history I have read.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Very informative but slightly too dense

Good summary of Ukrainian history for someone like myself who knew nothing of its history, but sometimes​ it was too dense with detail to keep up. I still recommend it for anyone wanting to learn about the history of Ukraine from its beginnings.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A Timely History

Any additional comments?

In aerodynamics we analyze fluid flow (fluid HISTORY) in two fundamentally different ways: by considering the trajectories of individual particles and tracing wherever they go (Lagrangian), or by fixing our attention on a fixed region of space and watching how it changes over time (Eulerian). Here in "The Gates of Europe" we have our history by fixing our attention on a region of space - the Ukraine. This "Eulerian" consideration of history allows us to develop a cohesive story from very early to very recent times. It is a nice counterpoint to other, more "Lagrangian", histories of the region which consider the movements of individual groups (Goths, Steppe Nomads, Slavs, Jews, Cossacks, etc) in more detail, but which lack a cohesive thread with modernity as each group moves and splinters over wide expanses of territory.<br/><br/>That's a cute way of describing the first three sections of this book, which deal with the region and peoples of the Ukraine in its pre-nation form. There is serious and deep scholarship here. From section four on, we launch into all the history necessary to understand the current struggles of Ukraine to bond more closely with Europe and shake Moscow's creepy embrace. In this sense, this is a must-read for anyone interested in today's politics of the region.<br/><br/>And yes, in agreement with other reviews, the narration is slightly grating. Part of this is the word soup of Eastern European names, particularly in the beginning sections. Slowing the narration to 0.90x speed helps tons. So don't let this stop you from diving into this well-done Eulerian analysis of the Ukraine.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Very informative and well written

This is a great book on Ukrainian history, probably the best in recent times. It covers Ukraine from its origins up to modern times. The author creates and well developed narrative that is easy to follow and Understand.
I highly recommend this book who likes Ukrainian history or anyone who likes history in general. The only drawback for me was the overly agitated voice of the narrator when he read the quotes. But overall the narration was very smooth and clear.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Terrific

Just like the written copy a policy makers book, some of the pronunciation is grating buy tolerable

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Fascinating book! Real eye opener about Ukraine!

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

To Ukrainians: Every one who wants to be identified as Ukrainian has to listen or read this book!<br/>To non Ukrainians: amazing book for everyone who loves history and wants to know the true story that was covered in lies for centuries before!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I just could not stop listening. I listened to this book during a 1000 miles road trip and was so impressed that I was thinking and talking about it for another week or two.

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Incredible Book

What made the experience of listening to The Gates of Europe the most enjoyable?

There's nothing like the presentation of history where one is not overwhelmed by the impression of facts, but in the end, you've learned a lot and you hunger for more. This book was amazing in this regard. As a result, I've started researching topics/areas mentioned in this book.

What does Ralph Lister bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

I noticed some reviewers found some of the narrator's pronunciations difficult to understand. It is true that I pronounce some words differently, but I had no issue with this matter.

Any additional comments?

Truly, one of my all-time favorite books!

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Complete history of Ukraine to 2015

It was an incredibly dense and thorough audio book. I really enjoyed it also. I've lived in and studied central/eastern Europe for years and this book proved I knew almost nothing about Ukraine's history. This half of Europe is extreme complex but well worth studying. This book made me want to study Poland next.

I learned Ukraine's borders have always been changing. The country must be respected as it because at any given moment of history another country had part of Ukraine today. I learned how Russia used Ukraine against Poland and Austria, Poland used it against Russia, an Austria just seemed to want it as part of its eastern expansion. Austria for its part 'had' western Europe and Germany as past of Holy Roman Empire until 1806. When Austria lost Western prestige they went East and South.

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Great overview and insightful analysis - horrible pronounciation

Nice to see such a thoughtful book written about Ukraine - as well as what makes the country and people "tick." Amazing that such a nation can survive - and thrive - under all the hardships it has endured over the centuries (the latest being challenged not by Russians, but by Putin. A quick easy listen.

While the reader had great inflection and presence, his pronunciation of Ukrainian names and locations was horrible.

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Shines a bright and analytical light

Shines a bright and analytical light on a neglected part of European history; great narrator

1 of 2 people found this review helpful