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The Baltic Revolution: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Path to Independence Paperback – September 10, 1994


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 4 edition (September 10, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300060785
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300060782
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #654,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Unfortunately, this book is now badly dated.
James Ferguson
It is good news for the people of those countries that Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia are no longer on the news map.
Andrius Uzkalnis
Great for anyone interested in the final years of the Cold War.
Carl Robinson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer VINE VOICE on September 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
Baltic history had been so long overlooked, at best it was relegated to footnotes in European history, that it was great to read a book totally devoted to the subject in the English language. Lieven gives an excellent overview of events that led to the independence of these tiny republics in the aftermath of the Soviet collapse. Unfortunately, the information is now dated. So much has transpired since 1991 that the book needs to be revised and updated. While the other former Soviet republics struggle to esatblish even the rudiments of a free-market economy, the Baltics are thriving. As Lieven pointed out, these countries have long European roots, unfortunately they became entangled with Russian roots and their personal histories became obscured.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Andrius Uzkalnis on July 14, 2004
Format: Paperback
This well-written, confident and elegantly worded book will not be the guidebook to the Baltics of today, but this is not why you would be picking this book in this day and age. 'The Baltic Revolution' is now firmly a part of the shelf looking at history - albeit a recent one, but history nevertheless.
It was fun to pick this book and leaf through it this week. My God - it was only written about a decade ago! So many things changed beyond belief (shops, houses, infrastructure, clothes - these are no-brainers; but also political life has matured incredibly, and Lithuania even managed to impeach its president caught with his hand in the till).
And then, even more bizarrely, you notice that so many things stayed the same. EXACTLY the same.
If you are in the Baltics for more than a week, this book would make a captivating reading: you will understand where Baltic ways of doing things, Balts' thoughts and idiosynchracies come from. In my travels, I found that studies of RECENT history of a country were the most revealing when trying to understand the national character. Maybe it is something about being able to see the process - see it 'to scale', so to speak.
The Baltic people are prisoners of their history more than they are willing to admit (and as a Lithuanian-born and Lithuanian-educated but UK-resident Lithuanian, I can say so without a fear of insulting sensibilities). In Lieven's book, you will read about the same character traits - but, visually, the countries really are nothing like those in which Mr Lieven lived when he used to write for 'The Times'.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 21, 1997
Format: Paperback
For those interested in the details of how the Baltic republics broke free of Soviet domination, this book, written by a knowledgeable Brit, reads fast, like an extended news report, and gives details I never found covered in the daily press during the actual events. I recommend it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John G. Cakars on June 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book is a good view of the path to the Baltic's 2nd Republic. The author gives a good account of what transpired in the Baltic republics during the late 80's and early 90's, when this book was written. He was living there and reports firsthand the events that transpired.
I almost felt that most of the book was about Lithuania. Maybe that is because Lithuania, unlike its northern neighbors, was able to resist teutonic conquest and allied itself with Poland. Lieven gives the reader history and more, because the actions the Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians took in becoming independant are rooted in history. For example, the 2nd Republic had to decide what constitution or laws were used. Most opted for the interwar laws and constitutions. But this conflicted with the European or EU view. So, the Balts were considered to be insensitive to the colonizers, in their midst. The Balts looked toward Europe, but their view of Europe was stuck in the interwar period. That was their only view, during the Soviet occupation. As the author states in arguments with "the extreme Right-wing parties about some of their ideas, and my knock-out blow (wrapped in less direct language) has always been: 'what you are saying is not European; it will separate you from the modern West'" page 71. This idea is sort of a mantra for the author. That the Balts do not know what it is to be European.
The book has notes, but no biliography. I found that to be unacceptable.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
There is no denying that this is a very valuable book on the Baltic States' history during the fall of the Soviet Union. But on the other hand, there are few other books out there to compare this one with. The bibliography on the history of the Baltic States is quite scarce. Lieven gives a good, and thourough analysis of a specific time in history, however, for many local Balts, when reading the text, it is obvious that this was written by an outsider looking in. Lieven does not always seem to fully understand the real character and history of the region. Nevertheless, since there are very few foreign authors paying attention to the region, an imperfect treatement is better than no treatment at all. The Baltic Countries have changed dramatically since this book was written. The situation described in the book as "contemporary" already seems like ancient history in the Baltic States. Readers should not think that the countries described in the books are still the same today. It is a valuable book, since there is little else written on the period or the region. However, looking at it objectivly, it is not perfect, and lacks a true understanding of the events that have shaped Baltic history and created the Baltic people.
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