'A highly captivating book that delights on every page and dispels the "damaging stereotypes" and "dour connotations" traditionally associated with Eastern Europe. Far more than a simple history, Goodbye Eastern Europe is a magical swan song for an astonishingly diverse but disappearing world of peasants and poets, resilience and romance, calamity and fantasy, where a shared affinity for the absurd has long been essential for survival.'
Goodbye Eastern Europe
An Intimate History of a Divided LandJacob Mikanowski
‘Do not rush to bid farewell to eastern Europe until reading this book. Meticulously researched and beautifully written, this very personal story of the place that one can’t find on the map pays tribute to the origins of the experiences, cultures and ideas that continue to shape political and ideological battles of the modern world.’ Serhii Plokhy
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.
This is a paean for a disappearing world of movable borders, sacred groves and syncretism. And an invitation to not forget.
'This wonderful book is a firework display: an unforgettable flash of forgotten past... Mikanowski shows that the vast regions between Germany and Russia are not just a zone of blood and tragedy, but of marvellous human vigour and resilience.'
'Do not rush to bid farewell to eastern Europe until reading this book. Meticulously researched and beautifully written, this very personal story of the place that one can’t find on the map pays tribute to the origins of the experiences, cultures and ideas that continue to shape political and ideological battles of the modern world.'
'A rich, counterintuitive history told with flair, Goodbye Eastern Europe is both a tour of an often-misunderstood part of the world and an examination of political fault lines that continue to shape our lives today.'
'Jacob Mikanowski has taken on the seemingly impossible task of writing a comprehensive history of that "Other" Europe, hoping to catch a myriad of vanishing worlds. My initial scepticism was quickly dispelled. Goodbye Eastern Europe succeeds in delighting even a jaded follower of matters East European like me. It is a richly informative and readable book which starts with the Dark Ages and ends with our own even darker era, ranging from the Baltics to the Balkans and covering an enormous swathe of land, describing the ever shifting frontiers and changing nationalities in the course of a historical narrative as vibrant as the area it describes.'
'Ambitious...a stunning portrait of a "land of small states with complicated fates". Shot through with lyrical reflections and astute analysis, this is a rewarding portrait of a diverse and complex part of the world.'
'Goodbye Eastern Europe is a collective portrait of people, places, states and ideas, most of which no longer exist. Beautifully written and witty, it presents the region as a place full of magic, vibrancy, diversity, conflict and coexistence. Mikanowski blends together reality and myth, poetry and historical research, personal experience and ideologies to revive and bring us back the civilisation that was lost during the calamitous twentieth century but that is still crucial to Eurasian history.'
'With the war in Ukraine, Eastern Europe is once again helping to determine the world's future, as it did at several key moments in the twentieth century. Yet for all its historical importance and cultural richness, the region remains a blank on many outsiders' mental maps. In this dramatic and wide-ranging book, Jacob Mikanowski makes Eastern Europe come to life by rooting its history in individual human stories, showing how diverse peoples lived together from the Middle Ages to the Holocaust and beyond.'
‘[Mikanowski’s] perceptive new book… Goodbye Eastern Europe takes an appealingly wide-ranging and eclectic approach to this region of shifting borders and multi-layered identities… illuminating… The result is a captivating and revealing book.’
'An epic history...of a part of the world too often ignored, told with vigour, colour, and authority.'