The Reconstruction of Nations Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, Belarus, 1569–1999 Timothy Snyder

Publication date:
11 Jul 2004
Yale University Press
384 pages: 235 x 156mm
34 b-w illus.
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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.

Timothy Snyder is assistant professor of history at Yale University.

"Charting the passages to nationhood and to national reconciliation in this impossibly complex region is the aim of Timothy Snyder’s erudite and engrossing book. . . . An illuminating historical essay. . . . This important book is also elegantly written."—Charles King, Times Literary Supplement

"[Snyder] utilizes poetry, monuments, symbols, and mini-biography, and family-and village-centered micro-history to make his points, and he succeeds in integrating a common-sense, democratic, and tolerant morality into a set of essentially objective, parallel story-lines. . . . A great book for the professional, scholar, student, and curious reader."—David Goldfrank, The International History Review

"Ambitiously conceived and superbly executed. . . . The Reconstruction of Nations isdistinguished by its clear structure, lucid prose, uncompromising judgements, and cogent argument. It marks the debut of a hugely talented historian."—Richard Butterwick, English History Review

Winner of the  2003 George Louis Beer Prize given by the American Historical Association

Winner of the 2003 Eastern Review Prize

Winner of the 2004 American Association for Ukrainian Studies Book Award

"This is by far the best English-language survey of northeastern Europe’s multicultural past. Snyder offers us an innovative and unconventional re-reading of the broad narrative of Polish, Lithuanian, and Ukrainian history, exploring and explaining issues of national identity without getting trapped within the categories of nationalist historiography. His ambition to cover four centuries of history was a bold move in today’s era of academic specialization, but he has succeeded brilliantly."—Brian Porter, Professor of History, University of Michigan; author of When Nationalism Began to Hate: Imagining Modern Politics in 19th Century Poland

"This is an excellent book. The research is impressive. Snyder asks the right questions and then delivers.”—John Micgiel, executive director, East Central European Center, Columbia University

"The Reconstruction of Nations isa brilliant and fascinating analysis of the subtleties, complexities, and paradoxes of the evolution of nations in Eastern Europe. Snyder highlights the success of contemporary leaders of Poland in bringing an end to the centuries of war, conquest, and ethnic cleansing, which have plagued that part of the world. His study has major implications for all of us who want to understand the processes of state collapse and nation-building in the world."—Samuel P. Huntington, Chairman, Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies

"This book is a work of profound scholarship and considerable importance. It represents a highly original approach to a neglected area of Europe—but also has wider implications for all those interested in questions of nationalism and state-building."—Timothy Garton Ash, Director, European Studies Centre, St Antony’s College, Oxford, author of The Polish Revolution