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A sweeping narrative history of Eastern Europe from the late eighteenth century to today In the 1780s, the Habsburg monarch Joseph II decreed that henceforth German would be the language of his realm. His intention was to forge a unified state from his vast and disparate possessions, but his action had the opposite effect, catalyzing the emergence of competing nationalisms A sweeping narrative history of Eastern Europe from the late eighteenth century to today In the 1780s, the Habsburg monarch Joseph II decreed that henceforth German would be the language of his realm. His intention was to forge a unified state from his vast and disparate possessions, but his action had the opposite effect, catalyzing the emergence of competing nationalisms among his Hungarian, Czech, and other subjects, who feared that their languages and cultures would be lost. In this sweeping narrative history of Eastern Europe since the late eighteenth century, John Connelly connects the stories of the region's diverse peoples, telling how, at a profound level, they have a shared understanding of the past. An ancient history of invasion and migration made the region into a cultural landscape of extraordinary variety, a patchwork in which Slovaks, Bosnians, and countless others live shoulder to shoulder and where calls for national autonomy often have had bloody effects among the interwoven ethnicities. Connelly traces the rise of nationalism in Polish, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman lands; the creation of new states after the First World War and their later absorption by the Nazi Reich and the Soviet Bloc; the reemergence of democracy and separatist movements after the collapse of communism; and the recent surge of populist politics throughout the region. Because of this common experience of upheaval, East Europeans are people with an acute feeling for the precariousness of history: they know that nations are not eternal, but come and go; sometimes they disappear. From Peoples into Nations tells their story.


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A sweeping narrative history of Eastern Europe from the late eighteenth century to today In the 1780s, the Habsburg monarch Joseph II decreed that henceforth German would be the language of his realm. His intention was to forge a unified state from his vast and disparate possessions, but his action had the opposite effect, catalyzing the emergence of competing nationalisms A sweeping narrative history of Eastern Europe from the late eighteenth century to today In the 1780s, the Habsburg monarch Joseph II decreed that henceforth German would be the language of his realm. His intention was to forge a unified state from his vast and disparate possessions, but his action had the opposite effect, catalyzing the emergence of competing nationalisms among his Hungarian, Czech, and other subjects, who feared that their languages and cultures would be lost. In this sweeping narrative history of Eastern Europe since the late eighteenth century, John Connelly connects the stories of the region's diverse peoples, telling how, at a profound level, they have a shared understanding of the past. An ancient history of invasion and migration made the region into a cultural landscape of extraordinary variety, a patchwork in which Slovaks, Bosnians, and countless others live shoulder to shoulder and where calls for national autonomy often have had bloody effects among the interwoven ethnicities. Connelly traces the rise of nationalism in Polish, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman lands; the creation of new states after the First World War and their later absorption by the Nazi Reich and the Soviet Bloc; the reemergence of democracy and separatist movements after the collapse of communism; and the recent surge of populist politics throughout the region. Because of this common experience of upheaval, East Europeans are people with an acute feeling for the precariousness of history: they know that nations are not eternal, but come and go; sometimes they disappear. From Peoples into Nations tells their story.

52 review for From Peoples Into Nations: A History of Eastern Europe

  1. 4 out of 5

    Brett C

    This was a very thorough examination a the peoples of Eastern Europe. The narrative starts with the migration of the Slavic tribal people into the region around 1000 AD. These peoples eventually took on unique linguistic patterns, became derivatives of each other, and turned into the various ethnic peoples of Eastern Europe. The book moves quickly through the Middle Ages and the book takes off around the 1806 after the end of the Holy Roman Empire. The book mostly is history about the people, th This was a very thorough examination a the peoples of Eastern Europe. The narrative starts with the migration of the Slavic tribal people into the region around 1000 AD. These peoples eventually took on unique linguistic patterns, became derivatives of each other, and turned into the various ethnic peoples of Eastern Europe. The book moves quickly through the Middle Ages and the book takes off around the 1806 after the end of the Holy Roman Empire. The book mostly is history about the people, their nationalism, languages, and interactions with each other. Aside from the core peoples (Romanians, Poles, Hungarians, Serbs, etc.) the author presents the Jews, Transylvanians, Moldovans, Wallachians, Bosniaks, Montenegrins, etc. The book moves along into the present encompassing a lot of information. There are many places, names, characters, and peoples to include the Habsburg's, the Ottomans, World Wars I & II, the Cold War, the Bosnian Civil War, and into the present 2000s. Ethnic Russians and later, the Soviet Union, are only mentioned in relation to the core countries that make up Eastern Europe. Something unique I found the author did extensive research on language. The author gave a good presentation on languages (Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, Ukrainian, Bulgarian, Slovene, Croatian, Serbian, Macedonian, Slovak. etc.) and incorporates it well into the history. I thought this book was well-researched and scholarly. The reading was a bit dry and boring at times but is a great reference source. I would recommend it to anyone interested in Eastern European studies.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Liviu

    Disappointing as tendentious and with factual mistakes; 2 stars for the work put into it

  3. 5 out of 5

    Chris Jaffe

    3.5 stars, but I'm willing to round up. There's a lot in here, but I think Connelly may have bitten off more than he can chew. He's tracing eastern Europe's history over the last 200 years with special attention paid to the rise and role of nationalism in the region. But it often gets so focused on the details, that it's often hard to see a bigger picture or remember that this is supposed to be something other than a narrative history. Connelly's main point is to contend that the prominent theori 3.5 stars, but I'm willing to round up. There's a lot in here, but I think Connelly may have bitten off more than he can chew. He's tracing eastern Europe's history over the last 200 years with special attention paid to the rise and role of nationalism in the region. But it often gets so focused on the details, that it's often hard to see a bigger picture or remember that this is supposed to be something other than a narrative history. Connelly's main point is to contend that the prominent theories of nationalism put out by Benedict Anderson and Eric Hobsbawn don't work in eastern Europe. OK, so he's against the modernist theory of nationalism. But......about 20 years ago I read a book about the various theories on nationalism by Anthony D. Smith. In it, Smith noted several schools of thought on nationalism. Connelly is opposed to the most prominent school, but does that mean he's more aligned with the others? From my own vague memory of Smith's book, this book aligns more with the primordialist school of nationalism (where nationalism isn't primordial, but takes it's power from association with pre-modern fetaures). There's no talk of anything other than Hobsbawn & Anderson, though. It's like those are the only guys to ever write on nationalism and Connelly is the first guy to ever criticize their theories. Also, there's too much on the Cold War and not enough on post-Cold War. Almost a third of this book covers 1945-89 (mind you: the overall book covers 200 years). That isn't a problem in and of itself. It's a little odd, given that nationalism isn't usually the main feature of that era, but to give Connelly credit he does bring up the role nationalism played during this era. But there's so much on the Cold War that it's easy to lose sight of the main thrust of the book. Also, you then get a chapter & a half on post-Cold War. Given that one of the most important features of eastern Europe in the 21st century, you'd think a book on nationalism in eastern Europe would want to focus more on that. The combination of intensive coverage of the Cold War combined with scant attention paid to modern times really undercuts the main thematic interest of this book. There is some good info. Some semi-random notes on that regard: Connelly notes how Holy Roman Emperor Joseph's determination to switch from Latin to German in record-keeping sparked a backlash among much of his subject people. Language became a big stumbling block for Hapsburg reforms. Patriotism was later promoted in schools and theaters in eastern Europe. The Serbs based much of theirs on epic poetry and the Orthodox church - then later a dictionary. Some movements (like Hungarian and Czech movements) were supported by liberalism while others weren't. The Congress of Berlin made self-determination central to a nation-state. Fascism's rise was caused by liberal neglect of lower-down people, Connelly argues (in a part of the book I found frankly muddled). Late 19th century liberals had a break up over their original notions of the people. Political anti-Semitism rose up. He argues that Serbia's genocide shows how an ethnicity can be fabricated. I noted at the start that this is a 3.5 star book but I'm willing to round up. The more I write of this review, the more I find myself questioning that. Ah, since I ain't sure, I'll keep the star rating where it is. But it's a really unenthusiastic four stars.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Hans Luiten

    Zo, dat was hard werken. 800 pagina’s met een overload aan informatie over het “andere dan Europese” nationalisme in Centraal-Europa. Interessante observaties over de tegenstellingen Magyaren/Duitsers versus Slaven. Moet het allemaal nog even verwerken 😀met oog op mijn boek. Maar voor de liefhebber: mooi boek #begrijpjijcentraaleuropanog

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brandy

  6. 5 out of 5

    Joseph

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marguerite Barrett

  9. 4 out of 5

    K

  10. 4 out of 5

    Raiyan Ahsan

  11. 4 out of 5

    Bmarshall

  12. 5 out of 5

    Atul

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    Alan Shaw

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    Noah

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    Sam Bowers

  16. 5 out of 5

    Livius

  17. 5 out of 5

    Allan Mckee

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    Omar

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    Anthony

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    Boston

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    Dwbowen

  22. 5 out of 5

    James

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    Inna

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    Steve Walker

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    boi

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    Jerome

  27. 5 out of 5

    Manray9

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    Nick

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    Sam Seitz

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    Jon Rupinski

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    Brooke

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    Tom Taylor

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    Dariusz Marszałek

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    Michael Kovan

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    Emily

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    Nicole1999

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    David Dunlap

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    Colleen

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    James Sutherland

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    Anne Howard

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    Hristo Hristov

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    Joanna

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    Braden

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    Peter Murphy

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    Ceil2000

  47. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

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    Diana

  49. 5 out of 5

    Maxwell Zupke

  50. 4 out of 5

    Ron Frampton

  51. 4 out of 5

    Viviana Albino

  52. 5 out of 5

    Eliza Feero

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