- Hardcover: 339 pages
- Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (October 31, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0195100719
- ISBN-13: 978-0195100716
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #406,925 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Central Europe: Enemies, Neighbors, Friends 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"Central Europe has finally re-entered the cultural world of Western Europe and the United States.... Lonnie Johnson has come along with a book which is extremely useful not only for courses on Central Europe but will be indispensable to readers whose knowledge of European ideas is generally
limited to the Western half of the continent." --Istvan Deak, Columbia University
"Written by a sophisticated historical analyst, this book is nevertheless more accessible to non-specialists than any comparable work. Lonnie Johnson explains the region's paradoxes objectively, but also with deep sympathy.... Students, travelers, officials, and businessmen who wish to
understand the contradicitons of this vital, appealing, but often alarming heart of Europe must read this illuminating narrative."--Daniel Chirot, University of Washington
From the Back Cover
Central Europe provides a broad overview and comparative analysis of key events in a historical region that encompasses contemporary Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia. Starting with the initial conversion of the "pagan" peoples of the region of Christianity around 1000 A.D. and concluding with the revolutions of 1989 and the problems of post-Communist states today, it illuminates the distinctive nature and peculiarities of the historical development of this region as a cohesive whole. Lonnie R. Johnson introduces readers to Central Europe's heritage of diversity, the interplay of its cultures, and the origins of its malicious ethnic and national conflicts. History in Central Europe, he shows, has been epic and tragic. Throughout the ages, small nations struggled valiantly against a series of imperial powers - Ottoman Turkey, Habsburg Austria, imperial Germany, czarist Russia, Nazi Germany, and the Soviet Union - and they lost regularly. Johnson's account is present-minded in the best sense: in describing actual historical events, he illustrates the ways they have been remembered, and how they contribute to the national assumptions that still drive European politics today. Since the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989, the unanticipated problems of transforming post-Communist states into democracies with market economies, the wars in the former Yugoslavia, and the challenges of European integration have all made Central Europe the most dynamic and troubled region in Europe. In Central Europe, Johnson combines a vivid and panoramic narrative of events, a nuanced analysis of social, economic, and political developments, and a thoughtfulportrait of those myths and memories that have lives of their own - and consequences for all of Europe.
Top customer reviews
Separately, it tells the story almost purely from a Habsburg and/or German perspective, whereas I was hoping to learn more about Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and others in that part of Central Europe.
The region is extraordinarily complex: about 1500 years of history, with many different peoples moving around, political units coming into and out of existence, and forms of political order (e.g., states, empires) changing and morphing. Just trying to make sense of the Hapsburg line is a difficult task. But Johnson finds common themes (or contrasts) in each time period he chooses to structure his chapters, and so transforms the multidimensional area into a readable text.
Different readers will come away with different senses of what is important. But for me, knowledgeable in western European history and politics, Johnson gave me a sense of the greatness and the ironies of these countries (at least as seen by themselves). Most of them have one point in their past when they ruled vast territories, most have had a significant history of being ruled, including oppressive domination, by outsiders, most see themselves as having protected the west from the dangers of Eastern Orthodox Christianity, the Ottomans, the Bolsheviks, and other assorted 'barbarians'. Equally, most, having been ravaged by the Nazis and the Stalinists in the 20th century, are also responsible for large-scale forced emigrations (after World War II), flirted or succumbed to tyranny in the inter-war (1919-39) years, and are now facing or accepting exclusionary nationalism now. And also the long sweep of history allows one to see many aspects now forgotten: the value, and the ultimate failure, of the Austro-Hungary Empire; the past centuries where different ethnic groups lived together in relative peace and stable, usually limited, inequalities; and the exceptionalism of the 20th century, with its exclusionary nationalism, destruction of the Jews, creation of a unified Germany, and destruction of the vast empires around Austria, Hungary, or both.
All in all, a very readable, expert, thoughtful book.
(I read the 1996 paperback. The pagination of the 2010 paperback is identical except that the last chapter, on post-1989, has grown from about 23 pages to about 33 pages.)
confederations with a king having limited power over the lands of nobles proud of their ancient rights, traditional rights of the nation and the limitation of royal power. Unlike Western Europe, England or France, the these kingdoms did not develop into strong
absolute monarchies or constitutional monarchies. Foreign empires, Austrian Hapsburgs, Russian, German intervened brutally in the sixteenth and seventeenth century impeding political and cultural development, leading to secondary serfdom and greater divide between Western and Central Europe. Central Europe is scholarly, interesting, enlightening showing the historical and religious influences that shaped the countries of Central Europe. Stanford Travel/Study used this book on its 2010 Elbe River trip.
1600 years of history of a dozen or so "peoples" (whose territories are by no means congruent with the states of the region) are intelligently presented in 308 pages. Each of the twelve chapters is written in a stand-alone fashion, with useful sub-chapters, so one should be able to use the book as a reference and find readily enough discrete periods, countries, episodes, or events. Yet it also is sufficiently well-written that I could read it from front-to-back without ever bogging down. That is not to suggest that it is a quick or easy read. In fact, it took me about three weeks, reading perhaps 20 pages at a sitting. But for historical surveys of its kind, it is eminently well-written and readable.
Especially engaging were the later chapters, dealing with the Cold war and its end and the dissolution of the Iron Curtain and the Eastern Bloc. Then I learned more from the five or six pages on the disintegration of Yugoslavia than I had from an entire book devoted to the Balkans but not nearly as well-written, organized, or presented.
I read the book primarily as historical background for reading fiction from Central Europe, but no matter what one's interest in the region (including travel), I doubt seriously that there is, or soon will be, any comparable much less superior history.
This book was recommended by Rick Steves', in his Central Europe guidebook, to get a basic understanding and historical background of the area.
Most recent customer reviews