Ukraine’s History: 10 Key Books in English


Although Ukraine has become a focus of international attention in recent years, it remains terra incognita for many audiences. Repeated conquests and their legacy of assimilation and cultural erasure have left the country, one of the largest in Europe, a mystery to outside observers. This is why it is important to learn what professional historians have to say about Ukraine.

Though the library of literature on Ukraine is much broader than can be presented here, UkraineWorld picks 10 must-read books on the country’s history.

1. Serhii Plokhy, The Gates of Europe. A History of Ukraine

Harvard historian Serhii Plokhy, who was born in the USSR, spent his early years in Eastern Ukraine’s industrial cities of Zaporizzhia and Dnipro before moving to the United States. His account of Ukraine is deep but accessible to a broad audience, a masterpiece of informed scholarship and rich storytelling. Plokhy surveys the Cossacks, Ukraine’s independence in the early 20th century, Stalin’s terror, the country’s ethnic and religious tensions; he covers the country in antiquity and as it stands today. All of this makes The Gates of Europe an excellent introduction for readers with a limited knowledge of Ukraine’s history.

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