Romania: Borderland of Europe (TOPOGRAPHICS)

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9781861891037: Romania: Borderland of Europe (TOPOGRAPHICS)
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Romania occupies a unique position on the map of Eastern Europe. It is a country that presents many paradoxes. In this book the pre-eminent Romanian historian Lucian Boia examines his native land's development from the Middle Ages to modern times, delineating its culture, history, language, politics and ethnic identity. Boia introduces us to the heroes and myths of Romanian history, and provides an enlightening account of the history of Romanian Communism. He shows how modernization and the influence of the West have divided the nation - town versus country, nationalists versus pro-European factions, the elite versus the masses - and argues that Romania today is in chronic difficulty as it tries to fix its identity and envision a future for itself. The book concludes with a tour of Bucharest, whose houses, streets and public monuments embody Romania's traditional values and contemporary contradictions.

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Review:

a well-written, well-translated and well-illustrated book ... much more than a tourist guide ... both useful and enlightening from a historical and cultural point of view. Choice ... an interesting and timely contribution to our growing understanding of the regional geography of a post-communist country about which relatively little is known ... Boia's book is noteworthy as it is neither a simple regional geography nor is it a travelogue ... a wonderful book about Romania ... a useful aid to critical understanding - one unfettered by the more common preoccupation with potted histories and dry trade statistics. Scholars will value it for its theoretically sophisticated approach and its respect for its readership. Geography

Synopsis:

Romania occupies a unique position on the map of Eastern Europe, standing at the interface of several different regions, with a great diversity of ethnic cultures. It is a country that presents many paradoxes. This book examines the development of this country from the Middle Ages to modern times, delineating its culture, history, language, politics, ethnic identity and international relations. The author introduces the reader to the heroes and myths of Romanian history, such as the celebrated fictional Count Dracula, and provides an enlightening account of the history of Romanian communism. He shows how, following the collapse of Communism, modernization and the influence of Western languages and culture have divided the nation - town versus country, nationalists versus pro-European factions, elite versus the "masses". Lucian Boia argues that Romania today is in difficulty as it tries to fix its identity and envision a future.

The book also documents the perception of ethnic minorities such as Hungarians, Jews and gypsies in Romania, as well as the Romanian attitudes towards other nations, and concludes with a tour of present-day Bucharest whose houses, streets and public monuments embody Romania's old and new values, as well as its current, painful contradictions.

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Boia
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