Timothy Snyder traces the emergence of four rival modern nationalist ideologies from common medieval notions of citizenship. He presents the ideological innovations and ethnic cleansings that abetted the spread of modern nationalism but also examines recent statesmanship that has allowed national interests to be channeled toward peace.
A work of profound scholarship and considerable importance.”Timothy Garton Ash, St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford
Timothy Snyder’s style is a welcome reminder that history writing can beindeed, ought to bea literary pursuit.”Charles King, Times Literary Supplement
A brilliant and fascinating analysis of the subtleties, complexities, and paradoxes of the evolution of nations in Eastern Europe. It 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, Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies
Snyder’s ultimate query in this fresh and stimulating look at the path to nationhood is how the bitter experiences along the way, including the bitterestethnic cleansingare to be overcome.”Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs
In 1569, the new Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth encompassed virtually the whole of what is today Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, and most of the Baltic states. For the Lithuanian and Polish nobles who constituted this first version of the "nation," it was a capacious notion, tolerating varied language, religious, and political loyalties. Its core character, Snyder contends, endured until the 1863 revolution, surviving even the eighteenth-century partitions that erased the commonwealth from the map. The rise of ethnic nationalism following 1863 undid the earlier openness, culminating in the mass killing of Jews in Vilnius and Jews and Poles in western Ukraine under the Nazis and after. Snyder's ultimate query in this fresh and stimulating look at the path to nationhood is how the bitter experiences along the way, including the bitterest ethnic cleansing are to be overcome. A wise contemporary Polish leadership has managed by accepting its borders to the east and letting go of the history that produced them, while seeking its future through integration into the West.