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Frontline Ukraine: Crisis in the Borderlands Hardcover – January 3, 2015

3.6 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

'Frontline Ukraine is a formidably powerful, well argued and thoroughly sourced attempt to correct world opinion on the Ukrainian conflict. Even those who cannot accept Professor Sakwa's underlying case - that the Ukrainian disaster has been brought about more by Western post-Cold War triumphalism than by President Putin's supposed 'imperialism' - will find invaluable data and perceptions in this brilliant and hard-hitting book.' - Neal Ascherson 'The great merit of Richard Sakwa's book is its willingness to challenge the prevailing wisdoms about the Ukraine crisis and to explain how its origins lie in the West's failure to create an equitable political and security order in Europe after the collapse of communism. It is essential reading to understand the causes and complexities of the Ukraine crisis.' - Angus Roxburgh; 'an accurate, overdue and - as far as it is possible - unbiased analysis that enables the reader to get a deeper view of both the root and proximate causes of the Ukraine crisis...excellent.' - Benedikt Harzl, Review of Central and Eastern European Law; 'Sakwa's approach is comprehensive, balanced, historically surefooted, pragmatic, and demonstrates an insight into events sorely lacking in Western discourse...It's not often a book reaches out and slaps you in the face and forces you to reconsider your entire position on a fundamental level. Frontline Ukraine is that kind of book. It cuts through the talking head static and makes a convincing case for a new view...Frontline Ukraine is brilliant, insightful, extensive, detailed...It cannot be stressed enough what an incredibly important read this is for Westerners commenting on Russia.' - Chris Murray, Defence Report; 'Sakwa's book is a salutary challenge to the very basis of Australian foreign policy: the principle that Washington is always right...The great value of Sakwa's book is that it confronts the notion that only the United States and its allies have legitimate foreign policy interests and that any idea emanating from outside the US alliance system must be 'potentially divisive and dangerous' - Nick Hordern, Australian Book Review

About the Author

Richard Sakwa is Professor of Russian and European Politics at the University of Kent.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: I. B. Tauris (January 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1784530646
  • ISBN-13: 978-1784530648
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #790,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This will be the standard work for many years to come about this wretched crisis. A very meticulous, extremely informative and totally enlightening narrative and analysis. If you really want to understand the dynamics of this conflict, this is the book to read. (And how I wish that at least a handful of our media pundits would read is as well. No better way to conquer all the misconceptions, not to say 'lies', about this dangerous war.)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the best book out right now to read if you want to understand the current crisis. Unlike many writers who focus on the Maidan Riots and the issue of the EU, this book look squarely at the history of the region, and look closely at how the various regions of Ukraine have a very different history. As the author points out, Ukraine was really a creation of the USSR and it existed within the USSR as an SSR. The West, especially the US, kept these administrative borders in order to grab as much land as possible from Russia in 1991. By spending time on the creation and history of Ukraine as an SSR, parts of which were nothing but gifts by Khruschev, stripped from Russia and given to the Ukrainian SSR, he makes it easy to understand why Ukraine is really two countries in one border. Ukraine really has two different histories and cultural experiences.

When the Maidan Riots erupted in early 2014 the separate histories and cultures of the two halves of Ukraine clashed causing the current crisis. This book also has the advantage that it takes the events in the crisis up to September 2014 and gives some idea of the personalities involved in the East.

If you want to have some understanding of this crisis, then this is the book for you. I heartily recommend it.
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Format: Hardcover
A level headed explanation of the conflict in Ukraine. It is unfortunate that leaders in the west continue to perpetuate the propagandised notion that Putin is solely to blame for the conflict.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a Ukrainian citizen whose family has been split by this conflict, I cannot agree more with the author's words in the preface portion of his book: "The temper of our times is angry and assertive..., but only a 'dialogical' approach can guarantee the scholarly commitment to hearing the arguments of all positions while holding strong views of our own." I am very thankful to Richard Sakwa for his brave attempt to present the Ukrainian crisis from a perspective of those Ukrainians who have been killed, burned, marginalized, and silenced by the Ukrainian radicals of all sorts supported by Western governments playing geopolitical games. As I see from the comments of other readers, not all of them are willing to listen to different points of view. This is very frustrating. Intolerance is the only real force that prevents us from stopping killing each other.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Firstly, a word of warning. This book is not a general day-by-day history of the crisis. It assumes the reader already has a good knowledge of the basic story, and focuses on broader interpretive issues. For this reason, it's not a good choice for someone who knows little to nothing about the events.
However, if you've already got the basic story straight, this is a really good challenge to the way that story is usually told. Most treatments of this issue don't make any attempt to place the crisis in its proper international context, or to understand the Russian perspective. Furthermore, they often assume a very simplistic account of the relationships involved (Yanukovich was a Russian cat's paw, the Eastern rebels are mostly Russian soldiers, neither of which is true) This book does a good job correcting these imbalances. To really understand this crisis, you have to take account of the role of all the major players (the various Ukrainian factions, the Eastern rebels, Russia, the EU, the US). This is the only book I've seen that even makes a serious attempt to do that.
Finally, I think a hint of the book's quality can be seen by looking at the negative reviews. Most of them don't even attempt to answer any of Sakwa's point, but just rant about "Putinist propaganda" (how dare Sakwa make an attemptto look at things from more than one point of view?) The few reviews that do go into detail focus mainly on points that are peripheral to the main thrust of the book, and badly strawman Sakwa's arguments. This book is making all the right people uncomfortable.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent expose on Ukraine - this crisis will last many more years as long as Putin is in power and as long as Ukraine remains a corrupt country. it a shame that such a country like Ukraine cannot raise itself up and become power in Europe that it could be. This is what happens to a country when it it under a 70 year control by Communists and 25 years of floating corruption that has led it to be such a sorry state country in Eastern Europe. But there is future in Ukraine as the new generation will start moving Ukraine upwards.
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Format: Hardcover
I believe that the author does an excellent job providing one with more of a Russia-centric account of the events, I wouldn't call it pro-Russian, though. What some of the readers with negative reviews don't understand, and it isn't well explained in this work, is that West needs to understand WHY Russia is doing what it's doing and what its senior leadership thinks. I believe Professor Sakwa did an excellent job explaining historical significance of events (from pro-Russian perspective), which will give the reader a better understanding of the issue. You should listen to both sides of the story to get the full understanding, no? Notwithstanding some minor inconsistencies with book's decoration and accouterments, the actual text is well researched, well written, and well organized.
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