Goodbye Eastern Europe: An Intimate History of a Divided Land by Jacob Mikanowski

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In the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, the bonds forged between twenty nations under the sway of the Red Star have dissolved. What exactly united them in the first place?

Eastern Europe is more than the sum total of its annexations, invasions and independence declarations. From the Baltics to the Balkans, from Prague to Kiev, the area exuded a tragicomic character like no other. 

Goodbye Eastern Europe breathes life into the region's departed centuries, charting the rise and fall of empires – Ottoman, Habsburg and Russian – nations singing themselves into being, and havens for heretics. It was a place where Muslims assisted Catholics in cutting the Yule Log, where you could live in six different countries without ever leaving your house, and where wars were fought over alphabets.

This is a paean for a disappearing world of movable borders, sacred groves and syncretism. And an invitation to not forget.