From Library Journal
This latest offering in the publisher's series of atlases on East Central Europe provides a systematic and comprehensive treatment of Europe west of the former Soviet Union, east of Germany, and south of the Baltics down into western Turkey. Also included are eastern Germany, northeastern Italy (Venice), and historic Poland-Lithuania (today's Belarus, Lithuania, and parts of Ukraine). In a progression of 89 full-color maps, the essentially chronological presentation of ever-shifting boundaries extends from the fifth century to 1993. This rich compendium of the geography and history of the region also treats economic patterns, the growth of the city, ecclesiastical jurisdictions, and industrial development. Author Magosci ( Ukraine: A Historical Atlas, Univ. of Toronto Pr., 1985) has included maps showing the districts and counties of every country in the region after World Wars I and II. Such a work is especially valuable today in view of all the upheaval that has occurred in Eastern Europe since the fall of communism in 1989. Finished maps were not seen by this reviewer, but sample maps were appropriately detailed, very readable, and highly attractive. You can't get to this once far-removed region by the Chattanooga ChooChoo, but who cares with this wealth of information at your fingertips.
- Edward B. Cone, New York
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Much in the news recently for radical political and social changes, East Central Europe has known tumult and change for centuries. The stasis the Cold War brought to borders and political systems was an uncharacteristic period of calm. This atlas, the keystone volume in an ongoing 10-volume scholarly history of the region, charts and summarizes changes from the fifth century through 1992.
For the purposes of this atlas, the limits of East Central Europe have been defined as "toward the west, the eastern part of Germany (historic Mecklenburg, Brandenburg, Prussia, Saxony, and Lusatia), Bavaria, Austria, and northeastern Italy (historic Venetia), and toward the east, the lands of historic Poland-Lithuania (present-day Lithuania, Belarus, and Ukraine up to the Dnieper River), Moldova, and western Anatolia in Turkey." Nothing is simple in this region, including place-names. As postwar treaties have moved borders back and forth, and as kingdoms, empires, and republics have risen and fallen, place-names have changed depending upon which group held power at a given time. The editors have settled on the principle of using the same name for a town or city on every map regardless of usage at the time depicted on the map or latter-day revisionist desires. The name used is based on present-day political boundaries. This is supplemented by providing "in parentheses below the main entry, as many alternate historical names as space would allow."
The 89 color maps are arranged in chronological order. Scales vary, but most maps show East Central Europe whole or a substantial portion of it. Legends appropriate to each map are clearly labeled, as are the maps themselves. Substantial interpretive text--a full page or more--accompanies each map. The text enjoys the same clarity as the map it explains. Useful tables (e.g., dates various states declared war on each other from 1914 to 1917, the ethnolinguistic-national composition of Yugoslavia) are imbedded in the text. In addition to showing the state of the entire region at key points in its history, the maps depict religious trends, wars, migrations, population levels, economic developments, and individual countries. Sources for each map are listed in an appendix. They are cited by a section letter and author's name, which refer to items in the extensive four-part bibliography that follows.
All of this information is accessible through a detailed table of contents and a thorough index that cites places, peoples, events, and topics and differentiates between references to text and maps. Bracketed abbreviations follow many place-names in the index to indicate which of 26 languages they derive from.
No comparable source in English exists. Adams's Atlas of Russian and East European History (Praeger, 1966) focuses on Russia. Furthermore, it necessarily misses recent developments, and its black-and-white maps are rudimentary in comparison. The Historical Atlas of East Central Europe is, of course, indispensable in libraries that have been collecting the other volumes in the History of East Central Europe series, and it will be a worthy addition to other libraries, especially since interest in this volatile region has expanded well beyond academe.
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