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Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas [Hardcover]

by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

October 17, 2012 1412847745 978-1412847742

History and collective memories influence a nation, its culture, and institutions; hence, its domestic politics and foreign policy. That is the case in the Intermarium, the land between the Baltic and Black Seas in Eastern Europe. The area is the last unabashed rampart of Western Civilization in the East, and a point of convergence of disparate cultures.

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz focuses on the Intermarium for several reasons. Most importantly because, as the inheritor of the freedom and rights stemming from the legacy of the Polish-Lithuanian/Ruthenian Commonwealth, it is culturally and ideologically compatible with American national interests. It is also a gateway to both East and West. Since the Intermarium is the most stable part of the post-Soviet area, Chodakiewicz argues that the United States should focus on solidifying its influence there. The ongoing political and economic success of the Intermarium states under American sponsorship undermines the totalitarian enemies of freedom all over the world. As such, the area can act as a springboard to addressing the rest of the successor states, including those in the Caucasus, Central Asia, and the Russian Federation.

Intermarium has operated successfully for several centuries. It is the most inclusive political concept within the framework of the Commonwealth. By reintroducing the concept of the Intermarium into intellectual discourse the author highlights the autonomous and independent nature of the area. This is a brilliant and innovative addition to European Studies and World Culture.

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Editorial Reviews


“In this impressively ambitious, panoramic examination of a substantial part of Central and Eastern Europe roughly equivalent to the lands which constituted the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, Professor Chodakiewicz accentuates their rich diversity in ethnic, economic, religious and political terms. . . . This brilliantly conceived, always fascinating and richly documented study is, incontrovertibly, an outstanding scholarly contribution, which should be mandatory reading for all with a serious interest in the history of Central and Eastern Europe and in American and broader international politics.”

Peter D. Stachura, Slavonic & East European Review

“Regional identity as a political concept is a useful, if controversial, vehicle for exploring important international relations issues. Chodakiewicz (history, Institute of World Politics) formulates "intermarium" to argue that the US should be more actively engaged with the region between the Baltic and the Black Seas. He asserts that the US has failed to address the security implications of a "resurgent" Russia with "imperial objectives" that focus primarily on the intermarium. Characterizing the history of the region as an effective defender of Western civilization since the time of the Mongols, he argues that today there is a convergence of interests and values among the states of the region and the US. . . . He concludes the book with a plea to scholars to engage in rebutting "Communist lies," ethnocentric myths, and Western distortions about the region. The book is recommended for all those interested in pursuing this challenge. Summing Up: Recommended.”

R. P. Peters, Choice

“[A] well-researched and well-written book; a balanced combination of theoretical insights with good narratives; an objective study of an area full of subjectivities; and, a thorough summary of important historical events.”

—Nicholas Dima, SFPPR News & Analysis

“For Chodakiewicz the Intermarium includes the Baltic States, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. It is hard to pick out the primary theme of the book—there are many—but one of them is that the struggle for the soul of the Intermarium is between the Polish model, which represents tolerance, prosperity, parliamentary democracy, intellectual achievement, and freedom, and the Russian model, which represents totalitarianism, corruption, cronyism, atheism, and moral relativism.”

—Karl A. Roider, The Sarmatian Review

“The Intermarium is one of the most culturally and politically significant regions of Europe. Yet historians and journalists too often limit themselves to a consideration of interests of the powers that have ravaged it. In this fascinating and deeply researched book, Marek Jan Chodakiewicz restores the region’s separate identity. He shows the interplay of its peoples and their often tragic destinies, but also the traditional love of freedom that makes the Intermarium a vital source of support for the ideals of the West.”

—David Satter, Hudson Institute; Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies

"Dr. Chodakiewicz's unprecedented, long-overdue impeccably researched and extraordinarily well-argued study directly challenges the common view of the Intermarium as mere borderland between the 'West' and Russia. Professor Chodakiewicz's clarity of thought, highly readable prose, impressive command of 1,000 years of the area's history, and his unique perspectives gleaned from expert analysis of a multitude of foreign archival material rarely seen in English compel all those in academia, the US government, and the US foreign policy establishment to overturn the Moscow-centric approach to the Interrimarium that has governed US foreign policy for the last 70 years."

—Dr. Robert W. Stephan (CIA Ret), Adjunct Professor Institute of World Politics; author, Stalin's Secret War, Soviet Counterintelligence against the Nazis 1941-1945

Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas is an important, path-breaking work. It serves to redefine our conceptualization of the European world.The comparison of [Chodakiewicz’s] efforts with those of Raul Hilberg is on target.”

—Irving Louis Horowitz, Hannah Arendt Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University

“This extraordinary new book by Professor Marek Chodakiewicz, a scholarly yet eminently readable and engaging tour de force, should establish his reputation as one of the most erudite historians of what is generally known as Central and Eastern Europe writing in the United States today. Ever the iconoclast, Professor Chodakiewicz exposes a plethora of inaccuracies and disinformation about this region promoted by Russian—and later Soviet—imperialist narratives, exacerbated by varying American biases which, over the course of more than a century, have resulted in a grossly distorted understanding of this critical part of the Western world which, in turn, prevents a clear appreciation of its own heritage rooted in the ideology of freedom. Many in academia will find his analyses unsettling; but no honest reader can fail to be impressed by the thoroughly researched arguments and the enormous breadth of his perspective. Intermarium is a breathtaking accomplishment.”

—Juliana Geran Pilon, director, Center for Culture and Security Institute of World Politics

“Based on noble ideals obscured by layers of colonialism from East and West, Chodakiewicz’s vision of Eastern Europe’s potential is boldly drawn and elegantly written.”

—Ewa Thompson, research professor of Slavic Studies, Rice University

“In this broad-minded and generous work written in the spirit of Oskar Halecki and Norman Davies, Chodakiewicz explores both the history and the contemporary problems of the lands between the Baltic and Black Seas. His work will prove essential for both academics and policy makers as well as any reader seeking a deeper understanding of the complexity and diversity of east-central Europe.”

—John Radzilowski, University of Alaska Southeast

About the Author

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is professor of history and holds the Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies at the Institute of World Politics. His writings have appeared in World Affairs, World Politics Review, and The American Spectator. In addition, he is the author or editor of numerous books, including Between Nazis and Soviets: Occupation Politics in Poland, 1939-1947; After the Holocaust: Polish-Jewish Conflict in the Wake of World War Two; and Poland’s Transformation: A Work in Progress.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 568 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers (October 17, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1412847745
  • ISBN-13: 978-1412847742
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 6.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,430,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book March 20, 2013
By L. P.
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Prof. Marek Chodakiewicz's Intermarium is a must read for all who aspire to learn about history and current situation of the part of Europe that for the most of English language speakers seldom register. Divided into 26 chapters the book covers wide array of topics starting with the ancient history until present times which are covered in great detail. The book is well researched and contains an extensive collection of citations which in themselves provide an enormous value for a serious reader. I highly recommend the book.
If I had to select just one asset of this book it would be uncovering of the truth about the ending of the WWII and Cold War, and presenting facts concerning the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Americans believe in clear endings, victories and defeats, e.g. WWII was a victory, while Vietnam was a defeat. Similarly Cold War ended in victory according to popular view. But for the unhappy eastern half of Europe there was no victory in WWII and for some parts like Poland there was not even an end of war in 1945. What instead emerged was according to Russian propaganda a "civil war", but in reality an aggressive war of another occupier who was set on exterminating any organized group over which it did not hold an absolute control. The situation was best captured by a Polish underground poet who in anticipation of arrival of Soviet forces wrote: "come, please come the red cholera to save us from the black death". This was the fate of a free nation that lost its independence in WWII and hopes of regaining it back were dim. The West was well aware of what was to come as Churchill told Polish Prime Minister in October 1944: "The Russians will sweep through your country and your people will be liquidated".
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
The title of this work refers to the lands between the Baltic and Black Seas--the territories that belonged to Poland well before the Partitions. Chodakiewicz begins with distant history, but devotes most of his scholarship to the 20th and 21st centuries. Owing to the breadth of this work, I focus on only a few issues.

Ironic to the detractors of Chodakiewicz, who deliberately mischaracterize him as an ethnonationalist, he actually objects to this position as unobjectively particularistic. (pp. 497-499). At the same time, he notes that much of Western scholarship has viewed events in the Intermarium through the singular prism of the Holocaust (p. 498)--(which is why those hostile to the enunciation of this fact call him a nationalist!) More on this later.

Chodakiewicz has a detailed chapter on the 1944 Koniuchy Massacre. The fact of many Jewish killers is mentioned not only by Polish survivors, but also by quite a few non-Poles. In fact, Chodakiewicz quotes numerous Jewish participants who implicate themselves, and other Jews, as killers. This is true of memoir-authors Isaac Kowalski and Chaim Lazar [see the Peczkis reviews by clicking on A Secret Press In Nazi Europe, The Story Of A Jewish United Partisan O, and Destruction and Resistance : A History of the Partisan Movement of Vilna]. It is also true of guerrilla operations commander Genrikh Ziman (p. 501), and such Jewish participants as Zalman Wylozny (p. 503), Israel Weiss (p. 503), Ruzhka Korczak (p. 503), Pol Bagriansky (p. 505), Joseph Harmatz (p. 506), Alex Faitelson (p. 506), Rachel Margolis. (p. 507), and Leizer Bart. (p. 512).
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important Work in the Field October 13, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
Marek Jan Chodakiewicz has made a major contribution to scholarship in an oft neglected field - The Intermarium. This stands as the best documented and researched work in the English language on the Intermarium. Caught between the EU and Russia, the Intermarium is a geopolitical necessity which for now is dormant but will one day come into its own. Criticism of ethnocentrism and chauvinism are unwarranted gusts of bellicose hot air from the East.

Dr. Jonathan Levy, author The Intermarium: Wilson, Madison, & East Central European Federalism
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3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Very One Sided July 5, 2013
Professor Marek Chodakiewicz is a member of the faculty at the "Institute for World Policy" (ICP) which is a DC think-tank. Prior to 1989 it was an anti-communist group that specialized in the Soviet slave states of eastern Europe. This book is supposed to be a non-partisan briefing on the states that today make up east and central Europe post the collapse of the Soviet Union. But the more I read the more it turned out to be a polemic of how badly everyone else treats minority Poles, while the Poles treat their minorities with honor and respect. He holds his truest complaints for the Belarus and Moldova governments. Like many writers, Marek has a terrible habit of of constantly using the expression, 'last but not least'. It gave me the feeling that it was the least interesting or important part each time he said it. Their are way to many typos and grammatical mistakes in a book that is supposed to be an academic tome.

Though he tries to be supportive of the Shoah and what happened to the Jews of East and Central Europehe makes a lot of anti-Jewish comments that I think he is totally unaware of. I a section that he calls a case study, he chooses a town that was destroyed trying to protect themselves from the Nazis, Soviets and Partisans. Many rural towns and communities were under constant pressure to help one or the other side and were punished by the other side each time they helped anyone. But when the town is destroyed for being pro-not-us, it's destroyed by a JEWISH Partisan group. Now this did happen during the war but maybe two out of every hundred villages destroyed. Why not a town destroyed by the SS or NKVD??

Though much of the information is presented in a straight forward way, it could have been made much more interesting.

Zeb Kantrowitz
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