From Library Journal
- Edward B. Cone, New York
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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.