A vivid and human glimpse into Europe's borderlands as they emerged from Soviet rule - back in print after nearly 20 years
'In this superb book, in which one senses the spirit of Franz Kafka and Bruno Schulz, the dramatic world of the Eastern borderlands comes to life' Ryszard Kapuscinski
As Europe's borderlands emerged from Soviet rule, Anne Applebaum travelled from the Baltic to the Black Sea, through Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and the Carpathian mountains. Rich in vivid characters and stories of tragedy and survival, Between East and West illuminates the soul of a place, and the secret history of its people.
'A beautifully written and thought-provoking account of a journey along Europe's forgotten edge' Timothy Garton Ash
'A vivid and penetrating assessment of the lands between the Baltic and the Black Sea in all their drama and desolation . . . a wise and useful book' Robert Conquest
'Combines the excitement of a well-written and adventurous travelogue with sophisticated reportage' Norman Davies
'You will be totally absorbed' Norman Stone
Anne Applebaum is a historian and journalist, a regular columnist for the Washington Post and Slate, and the author of several books, including Gulag: A History, which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize for non-fiction, and Iron Curtain, which in 2013 won the Duke of Westminster Medal for Military Literature and the Cundill Prize in Historical Literature. She is the Director of Political Studies at the Legatum Institute in London, and she divides her time between Britain and Poland, where her husband, Radek Sikorski, serves as Foreign Minister.
Traveling the uncertain land between Eastern and Western Europe, Applebaum recounts her three-month journey and the people she meets, typified by a man who was born in Poland, raised in the Soviet Union and now living in Belarus-yet he has never left his village. The territorial borders of many towns in Eastern Europe have been redrawn so often over the centuries that such villages are called kresy, meaning they belong to no one in particular. The American-born Applebaum, who is the foreign editor of the London Spectator and has residences in Poland and England, shows herself as a journalist of sturdy competence, smart and shrewd. She speaks Polish and Russian and is well read in Eastern European history. Applebaum travels from kresy to kresy in dilapidated private autos she hires, although on occasion she must walk; the few hotels are seedy and homes where she is sometimes invited to sleep aren't markedly more comfortable. But she's not deterred; Applebaum's receptiveness encourages borderlanders to tell her the myriad of ways that political partitioning has subjugated their personal lives, cultural traditions and languages. She in turn explains to us the nationalism motivating these newly independent people as they try to redefine their true heritages.