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In Europe's Shadow: Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond Hardcover – February 9, 2016
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“This book reveals the confident, poetical Kaplan . . . but also a reflective, political Kaplan, seeking at times to submerge his gift for romantic generalization in respectful attention to the ideas of others. That tension—between an aesthetic sense of wholeness and the intellectual acceptance of complexity—is the real subject of the book, both as autobiography and as geopolitics.”—Timothy Snyder, The Washington Post
“A serious yet impassioned survey of Romania . . . [Kaplan’s] method is that of a foreign correspondent, firing off dispatches from the South China Sea to North Yemen to the darkest corners of Eastern Europe when it was still Iron Curtain country, and his approach has a Thucydidean texture: a gimlet-eyed realism as gathered by evidence, and guided by an understanding that the knee-jerk of history is self-interest. . . . Kaplan is a regional geographer par excellence—undeniably, whatever you think of his conclusions—a big-picture man.”—The Christian Science Monitor
“Kaplan is one of America’s foremost writers on the region. . . . In a series of deep dives into the region’s past—Byzantine, Ottoman, Habsburg and Soviet—he finds parallels and echoes that help us understand the present.”—The Wall Street Journal
“Kaplan moves seamlessly from sights, sounds, and conversations to the resonance of history. . . . In Kaplan’s hands, Romania emerges as no mere footnote, but as a historical and political pivot.”—Foreign Affairs
“Kaplan’s work exemplifies rare intellectual, moral and political engagement with the political order—and disorder—of our world. . . . Kaplan’s writing is like the places he visits. It’s a terrain, a concentrated expression of a particular part of the world as he sees it. . . . In Europe’s Shadow amounts to a kind of historical anthropology plus geopolitics, a deep study of a particular country and people. . . . It shows how, at one and the same time, Romania is distinctive and a key to a broader and deeper understanding of contemporary Europe.”—The Huffington Post
“Kaplan’s is travel writing at its contemporary finest, weaving in the sights and sounds of a faraway land alongside interviews with its philosophers and politicians. . . . [In Europe’s Shadow] provides an incisive, tactile introduction to the politics and potential prospects of Central and Southeastern Europe—a region that finds itself once again caught in the headwinds of history.”—RealClearWorld
“A masterly work of important history, analysis, and prophecy about the ancient and modern rise of Romania as a roundabout between Russia and Europe . . . I learned something new on every page. Robert D. Kaplan is a master.”—Tom Brokaw
“A tour de force of cultural and political travel writing in which Romania’s complex past and uncertain present become vivid and newly urgent.”—Colin Thubron, author of Shadow of the Silk Road and co-editor of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s The Broken Road
“Robert D. Kaplan has the remarkable ability to see over the geopolitical horizon, and he now turns his attention to Europe’s marchlands—the former ‘Greater Romania’ lying between the Balkans and a resurgent Russia. In a triple journey through books, landscapes, and histories, he tackles the meaning of geography, the influence of intellectuals, and the daffiness—and power—of nationalism. . . . Timely, insightful, and deeply honest.”—Charles King, professor of international affairs, Georgetown University, and author of Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul
“For an appreciation of contemporary Romanian attitudes, Robert Kaplan’s book has no equal. As an outsider, yet within, the author offers an analysis of Romania that combines erudition and authority. His sparkling, suggestive reflections, drawing upon history and landscape, capture the DNA of the country and its inhabitants.”—Dennis Deletant, Ion Rațiu Visiting Professor of Romanian Studies, Georgetown University, and emeritus professor, University College London
“A moving book—an illuminating and compassionate guide through the labyrinth of Romania’s immensely convoluted and often traumatic past . . . In spite of the many dark, distressing moments that no one should ignore, In Europe’s Shadow conveys a sense of hope, promise, and continuous renewal.”—Vladimir Tismăneanu, professor of politics, University of Maryland, and author of The Devil in History: Communism, Fascism, and Some Lessons of the Twentieth Century
“Kaplan illuminates the extraordinary journey of the people of Romania, as well as millions of other East Europeans, from the tragic Soviet despotism of the decades after the Second World War to their more hopeful and democratic future as members of NATO and the European Union. Kaplan’s ability to weave together complex histories, religion, memory, and political thought is nearly unmatched.”—Nicholas Burns, professor, Harvard Kennedy School, and former undersecretary of state for political affairs
“A favorite of mine for years, Robert D. Kaplan is a thoughtful and insight-driven historian who writes clear and compelling prose, but what I like most about him is his political sophistication. In Europe’s Shadow makes you look up and think about what’s on the page—a true pleasure for the reader.”—Alan Furst
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
The mid part of the book, however, lags. Kaplan, much given to embroidered prose and adjectival excess, too often rhapsodizes about his earlier visits to Romania in 1973 and 1981 and repeatedly cites to the thinkers of Eastern Europe without any clear indication of what he thinks. This detracts from the book’s readability.
Robert D. Kaplan, the author, is well-qualified to write about the geopolitical history, borders, and evolution of nationalities, cultures and countries in the general area of Romania and surrounding lands. He is unquestionably an expert in this region. He has worked for thirty odd years as a foreign correspondent and holds credentials including visiting professor at the US Naval Academy and chief geopolitical analysts at Stratfor, a provider of security and international intel located in Austin, Texas.
Kaplan pours his heart and a lot of experience into this book. Most Americans know very little about Romania and the Balkans and Carpathian region of Southeastern Europe. This book most definitely broadened my knowledge of the region, its nationalistic and tyrannical leaders, and its history and future potential. The writer will educate the reader who is willing to treat this manuscript more as a college course and less as a piece of casual reading. It is anything but casual.Read more ›
In other words, this is part memoir, part historical overview, part intellectual journey. I do not have to agree with where he starts and finishes, as a thinker, to enjoy the way he tries to create a richness in understanding Romania and the East in the 20th Century. This sort of book, a compilation of Kaplan's views, thoughts, reading, and personal history, is unsatisfying to anyone wanting a coherent work of history, but is a good window on the world, from his view. If the author is charming (and on balance Kaplan is) the result is a good mix of analysis and primary source stories.
Fallible, interesting, short read.
When Kaplan, an aspiring journalist, was discharged from the Israeli Army in 1981, he saw certain areas of the world crowded with journalists; others virtually uncovered. He opted for the big fish in a small pond routine, and went to Romania, primarily since it was the only East bloc country with diplomatic and air ties with Israeli.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Robert Kaplan has been one of my favorite political travelogue writers but his last few books have been rather disappointing to me. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Mehmet Binay
A good overlook at Eastern Europe. It provides history and geography but it was slow going.Published 1 month ago by Janet Mccormack
I have no words to describe my disappointment about this book. Don't bother. So much for the author being an expert on the subject.Published 2 months ago by Horace Dumitrescu
A tedious, opinionated, historically and culturally challenged interpretation of Romania and Romanians. Read morePublished 2 months ago by N. Ravitch
The author is undoubtedly well read, and he peppers his book with countless quotes from other authors and journalists, most of which seem to have little bearing on the point he is... Read morePublished 2 months ago by GntlKnigt1
Robert D. Kaplan is at his best in this book covering a land that he has personally traveled through and covered over many decades while Romania has transitioned through various... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kyle Dunnahoo
I learned so much about Romanian history from this book. To be honest, before reading it, the only thing I knew about Romania is that it was once part of the Soviet Union (СССР). Read morePublished 2 months ago by OAT