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  • The Gates of Europe

  • A History of Ukraine
  • By: Serhii Plokhy
  • Narrated by: Ralph Lister
  • Length: 15 hrs and 21 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (53 ratings)

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The Gates of Europe cover art

The Gates of Europe

By: Serhii Plokhy
Narrated by: Ralph Lister
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Summary

Ukraine is currently embroiled in a tense fight with Russia to preserve its territorial integrity and political independence. But today's conflict is only the latest in a long history of battles over Ukraine's territory and its existence as a sovereign nation. As the award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues in The Gates of Europe, we must examine Ukraine's past in order to understand its present and future.

Situated between Central Europe, Russia, and the Middle East, Ukraine was shaped by the empires that used it as a strategic gateway between East and West—from the Roman and Ottoman empires to the Third Reich and the Soviet Union. For centuries, Ukraine has been a meeting place of various cultures. The mixing of sedentary and nomadic peoples and Christianity and Islam on the steppe borderland produced the class of ferocious warriors known as the Cossacks, for example, while the encounter between the Catholic and Orthodox churches created a religious tradition that bridges Western and Eastern Christianity. Ukraine has also been a home to millions of Jews, serving as the birthplace of Hassidism—and as one of the killing fields of the Holocaust.

Plokhy examines the history of Ukraine's search for its identity through the lives of the major figures in Ukrainian history: Prince Yaroslav the Wise of Kyiv, whose daughter Anna became queen of France; the Cossack ruler Ivan Mazepa, who was immortalized in the poems of Byron and Pushkin; Nikita Khrushchev and his protege-turned-nemesis Leonid Brezhnev, who called Ukraine their home; and the heroes of the Maidan protests of 2013 and 2014, who embody the current struggle over Ukraine's future.

As Plokhy explains, today's crisis is a tragic case of history repeating itself, as Ukraine once again finds itself in the center of the battle of global proportions. An authoritative history of this vital country, The Gates of Europe provides a unique insight into the origins of the most dangerous international crisis since the end of the Cold War.

©2015, 2021 Serhii Plokhy (P)2022 Basic Books
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

"Buy this book. Give copies to your children and grandchildren. Buy copies for your friends. Make sure they read it.” Ukrainian Weekly

"A sympathetic survey of the history of Ukraine along the East-West divide, from ancient divisions to present turmoil.... A straightforward, useful work that looks frankly at Ukraine's ongoing "price of freedom" against the rapacious, destabilizing force of Russia.” Kirkus Reviews

"For a comprehensive, engaging, and up-to-date history of Ukraine one could do no better than Serhii Plokhy's aptly titled The Gates of Europe. Plokhy's authoritative study will be of great value to scholars, students, policy-makers, and the informed public alike in making sense of the contemporary Ukrainian imbroglio.” Norman M. Naimark, Stanford University

What listeners say about The Gates of Europe

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

An excellent book with a weird (bad) epilogue

The story of Ukraine is well told and balanced all the way through. Very interesting and well narrated. However the last chapter or epilogue appears to have been written by someone else and grates badly with he entire work. It seems that the standard NATO view of plucky Ukraine versus the new Russian Empire had to be included to have the book published. Still very good but tear out the epilogue as being too recent and controversial opinion.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful book but super-annoying narrator

This book could not be better in terms of content - it gives a wonderfully wide and deep history of Ukraine, a part of the world most people had no idea about until Feb 2023.

But I have to say - and it's a policy of mine to avoid negative words in reviews - I do find the narrators very "over-acted" delivery extremely grating. I find myself wishing the delivery were a bit straighter and plainer. Then again, plenty of reviews here seem to like it so maybe I'm the odd-one-out.

Narration aside, this a supremely enlightening book that I would recommend to anyone who wants to learn about Ukraine.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • 31-12-23

Fascinating intricate history of wonderful country.

Great details, a real sense of historic flow. Would have been improved without such, errr, distinctive voices during quotations

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Fantastic

This puts the 2022 invasion of Ukraine in a historical perspective. Excellent narration too.

Слава Україні!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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The history of Ukraine

Not sure why the narrator thinks that accents are a good idea. Still an excellent historiography of Ukraine.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Decent overiew over the History of Ukraine. Did not like the Narrator

Did not like the Narrator in this book. But overall it was a decent book on Ukranian history. I much prefeared the narrator Phloky had on his other book «The Russo Ukranian War». I would much rather read the book than listen to this audiobook

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