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The reconstruction of nations : Poland,…
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The reconstruction of nations : Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus,… (edição 2003)

por Timothy Snyder

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1611129,846 (4.13)6
Modern nationalism in northeastern Europe has often led to violence and then reconciliation between nations with bloody pasts. In this fascinating book, Timothy Snyder traces the emergence of Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and Belarusian nationhood over four centuries, discusses various atrocities (including the first account of the massive Ukrainian-Polish ethnic cleansings of the 1940s), and examines Poland's recent successful negotiations with its newly independent Eastern neighbors, as it has channeled national interest toward peace.… (mais)
Membro:taldrich
Título:The reconstruction of nations : Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999
Autores:Timothy Snyder
Informação:New Haven : Yale University Press, cop. 2003
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The Reconstruction of Nations: Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569-1999 por Timothy Snyder

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Timothy Snyder, the author of the stunning Bloodlands: Europe between Hitler and Stalin covers a lot of ground in this earlier (2003) book: geographic and temporal, literary and military, diplomatic and genocidal. I am an admirer of Snyder's writing in The New York Review of Books, which was what led me originally to Bloodlands, and when I discovered he had written about the history of Ukraine, naturally this book appealed to me. However, it was a bit of a slog, well written, but with the detail and density of a doctoral dissertation, and I read some parts with more attention than other parts. Surprisingly, since the book was published by Yale University Press, it was also marred by occasional typographical errors that made me have to read a sentence a couple of times to understand what Snyder was trying to say.

The idea behind this book is to look at the area that made up the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth back in 1569 and trace what happened between then and 1999 in terms of changing ideas of what makes a nation a nation. Is it language? If so, is it the language spoken by the peasants or by the political and artistic elite? Is it ethnicity? If so what happens when people are so intermixed that millions of people live in "countries" that aren't their own? What happens when boundaries shift by war or treaty? And what happens to that idea when external powers and armies arrive? Or is it a modern idea of national borders with respect for minorities? A very helpful series of maps keeps the area of the Commonwealth shaded and shows how it overlaps with national boundaries from 1569 to 1914 to 1938 to Nazi control to Soviet control to 1999.

Snyder spends a great deal of time on language, discussing not only the languages spoken by local peasants and the languages spoken in the cities, but also the differing languages used by the varieties of Christianity that spread through these areas, as well as the significance of these languages and these religions. To greatly oversimplify, Poland, with its Roman Catholicism (and thus Latin liturgy), was at odds with Lithuania and others with various forms of Orthodoxy (believe me, Snyder makes it much more complex than this). Polish, and to a lesser extent Lithuanian, became literary languages, but Ukrainian and to a greater extent Belosrussian never achieved this because they weren't spoken by the elites.

The modern history was more interesting to me than the earlier history. Between the wars, particularly in Poland and Lithuania, nationalistic movements came to the fore, with implications for the many millions of "minorities" living in countries they didn't "belong" to. But all this was to fade in comparison to devastation caused by the invasions of first the Soviets, then the Nazis, and then the Soviets again, principally of course for the Jews, always an important if beleaguered component of these areas, but ultimately, once the Jews had been exterminated, for others as well. Polish villagers were massacred in Ukraine, Ukrainians were expelled from Poland, and massacred, and more.

Although I found much of the book interesting (and much of it, as I said, a slog), I was most interested in the relatively recent history of Ukraine. Unlike Poland, which was an independent country (with, nonetheless, constantly changing boundaries due to its more powerful neighbors), and Lithuania, which had some sense of itself as a nation (although, prewar, the city of Vilnius, now its capital, contained more Jews and Poles than Lithuanians), Ukrainians only began to develop nationalistic ideas in the interwar and wartime period. Its eastern areas had been under Russian control, some of its western areas part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and some other areas part of Poland. Several Ukrainian nationalistic groups sprung up and, according to Snyder, during the war, some of these groups, especially the UPA, not only learned from Nazi techniques but also incorporated some former members of the SS into their ranks. Thus, when Ukrainians today cite the UPA and some of its slogans, it is not difficult to see why this would drive the Russians crazy and lead them to call the Ukrainians fascists, however misguided this may be.

Snyder ends the book with a look at Polish foreign policy after the fall of the Soviet Union and its impact on the region and on on "Europe." Basically, he says the Poles promoted an idea of accepting boundaries as they existed post-1945 (to reduce revanchism all around), to support the national aspirations of the new countries that had been part of the Soviet Union, to advance the idea of "European" values, including protection for minority nationalities within a country, and to look forward instead of back at history ("leave history for the historians"). All, no doubt, noble and pragmatic goals, but not ones, as current events show, that the Russians have bought into.

So what did I learn from this book? To oversimplify, it's complicated.
3 vote rebeccanyc | May 25, 2014 |
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Ce livre traite des transformations de l’idée de nation,
des causes des nettoyages ethniques et des conditions nécessaires à la réconciliation nationale. [...]
Introduction

Quand les nations surgissent-elles ? Qu’est-ce qui conduit aux épurations ethniques ? Comment les États peuvent-ils se réconcilier ?
[...]
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Modern nationalism in northeastern Europe has often led to violence and then reconciliation between nations with bloody pasts. In this fascinating book, Timothy Snyder traces the emergence of Polish, Ukrainian, Lithuanian, and Belarusian nationhood over four centuries, discusses various atrocities (including the first account of the massive Ukrainian-Polish ethnic cleansings of the 1940s), and examines Poland's recent successful negotiations with its newly independent Eastern neighbors, as it has channeled national interest toward peace.

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Yale University Press

2 edições deste livro foram publicadas por Yale University Press.

Edições: 030010586X, 0300095694

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