Eastern Europe
Featured Items
The Bugarstica: A Bilingual Anthology of the Earliest Extant South Slavic Folk Narrative Song
The Bugarstica
A Bilingual Anthology of the Earliest Extant South Slavic Folk Narrative Song
Hardcover      ISBN: 0252017110
Sovietistan: Travels in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan
Sovietistan
Travels in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan
Hardcover      ISBN: 1643133268

Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan became free of the Soviet Union in 1991. But though they are new to modern statehood, this is a region rich in ancient history, culture, and landscapes unlike anywhere else in the world.

Traveling alone, Erika Fatland is a true adventurer in every sense. In Sovietistan, she takes the reader on a compassionate and insightful journey to explore how their Soviet heritage has influenced these countries, with governments experimenting with both democracy and dictatorships.

In Kyrgyzstani villages, she meets victims of the tradition of bride snatching; she visits the huge and desolate Polygon in Kazakhstan where the Soviet Union tested explosions of nuclear bombs; she meets shrimp gatherers on the banks of the dried out Aral Sea; she witnesses the fall of a dictator.

She travels incognito through Turkmenistan, a country that is closed to journalists. She meets exhausted human rights activists in Kazakhstan, survivors from the massacre in Osh in 2010, and German Mennonites that found paradise on the Kyrgyzstani plains 200 years ago. We learn how ancient customs clash with gas production and witness the underlying conflicts between ethnic Russians and the majority in a country that is slowly building its future in nationalist colors.

Once the frontier of the Soviet Union, life follows another pace of time. Amidst the treasures of Samarkand and the brutalist Soviet architecture, Sovietistan is a rare and unforgettable adventure.

The Crime and the Silence: Confronting the Massacre of Jews in Wartime Jedwabne
The Crime and the Silence
Confronting the Massacre of Jews in Wartime Jedwabne
Paperback      ISBN: 0374536376

Winner of the National Jewish Book Award in the Holocaust category

A monumental work of nonfiction on a wartime atrocity, its sixty-year denial, and the impact of its truth

Jan Gross's hugely controversial Neighbors was a historian's disclosure of the events in the small Polish town of Jedwabne on July 10, 1941, when the citizens rounded up the Jewish population and burned them alive in a barn. The massacre was a shocking secret that had been suppressed for more than sixty years, and it provoked the most important public debate in Poland since 1989. From the outset, Anna Bikont reported on the town, combing through archives and interviewing residents who survived the war period. Her writing became a crucial part of the debate and she herself an actor in a national drama.
Part history, part memoir, The Crime and the Silence is the journalist's account of these events: both the story of the massacre told through oral histories of survivors and witnesses, and a portrait of a Polish town coming to terms with its dark past. Including the perspectives of both heroes and perpetrators, Bikont chronicles the sources of the hatred that exploded against Jews and asks what myths grow on hidden memories, what destruction they cause, and what happens to a society that refuses to accept a horrific truth.
A profoundly moving exploration of being Jewish in modern Poland that Julian Barnes called "one of the most chilling books," The Crime and the Silence is a vital contribution to Holocaust history and a fascinating story of a town coming to terms with its dark past.

The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story
The Zookeeper's Wife
A War Story
Paperback      ISBN: 039333306x

After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these "guests," and human names for the animals, it's no wonder that the zoo's code name became "The House Under a Crazy Star." Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story--sharing Antonina's life as "the zookeeper's wife," while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism. Winner of the 2008 Orion Award.

Constantinople: Istanbul's Historical Heritage
Constantinople
Istanbul's Historical Heritage
by Unknown
Hardcover      ISBN: 3833119322
How We Survived Communism & Even Laughed
How We Survived Communism & Even Laughed
Paperback      ISBN: 0060975407

This essay collection from renowned journalist and novelist Slavenka Drakulic, which quickly became a modern (and feminist) classic, draws back the Iron Curtain for a glimpse at the lives of Eastern European women under Communist regimes. Provocative, often witty, and always intensely personal, How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed cracks open a paradoxical world that through its rejection of capitalism and commoditization ends up fetishizing both.

Examining the relationship between material goods and expressions of happiness and individuality in a society where even bananas were an alien luxury, Drakulic homes in on the eradication of female identity, drawing on her own experiences as well as broader cultural observations. Enforced communal housing that allowed for little privacy, the banishment of many time-saving devices, and a focus on manual labor left no room for such bourgeois affectations as cosmetics or clothes, but Drakulic's remarkable exploration of the reality behind the rhetoric reveals that women still went to desperate lengths to feel "feminine."

How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed also chronicles the lingering consequences of such regimes. The Berlin Wall may have fallen, but Drakulic's power pieces testify that ideology cannot be dismantled so quickly; a lifetime lived in fear cannot be so easily forgotten.

Berlin Calling: A Story of Anarchy, Music, the Wall, and the Birth of the New Berlin
Berlin Calling
A Story of Anarchy, Music, the Wall, and the Birth of the New Berlin
Hardcover      ISBN: 162097195x
An exhilarating journey through the subcultures, occupied squats, and late-night scenes in the anarchic first few years of Berlin after the fall of the wall

Berlin Calling is a gripping account of the 1989 "peaceful revolution" in East Germany that upended communism and the tumultuous years of artistic ferment, political improvisation, and pirate utopias that followed. It's the story of a newly undivided Berlin when protest and punk rock, bohemia and direct democracy, techno and free theater were the order of the day.

In a story stocked with fascinating characters from Berlin's highly politicized undergrounds--including playwright Heiner M ller, cult figure Blixa Bargeld of the industrial band Einst rzende Neubauten, the internationally known French Wall artist Thierry Noir, the American multimedia artist Danielle de Picciotto (founder of Love Parade), and David Bowie during his Ziggy Stardust incarnation--Hockenos argues that the DIY energy and raw urban vibe of the early 1990s shaped the new Berlin and still pulses through the city today.

Just as Mike Davis captured Los Angeles in his City of Quartz, Berlin Calling is a unique account of how Berlin became hip, and of why it continues to attract creative types from the world over.
The House of the Dead: Siberian Exile Under the Tsars
The House of the Dead
Siberian Exile Under the Tsars
Paperback      ISBN: 0307949265
Winner of the Cundill History Prize

The House of the Dead tells the incredible hundred-year-long story of "the vast prison without a roof" that was Russia's Siberian penal colony. From the beginning of the nineteenth century until the Russian Revolution, the tsars exiled more than a million prisoners and their families east. Here Daniel Beer illuminates both the brutal realities of this inhuman system and the tragic and inspiring fates of those who endured it. Siberia was intended to serve not only as a dumping ground for criminals and political dissidents, but also as new settlements. The system failed on both fronts: it peopled Siberia with an army of destitute and desperate vagabonds who visited a plague of crime on the indigenous population, and transformed the region into a virtual laboratory of revolution. A masterly and original work of nonfiction, The House of the Dead is the history of a failed social experiment and an examination of Siberia's decisive influence on the political forces of the modern world.
On Behalf of Their Homeland: Fifty Years of Svu: an Eyewitness Account of the History of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences Svu
On Behalf of Their Homeland
Fifty Years of Svu: an Eyewitness Account of the History of the Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences Svu
Hardcover      ISBN: 0880336307

The Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU) is a unique cultural organization established to rehabilitate Czechoslovakia's image abroad, which, in 1958, had become tarnished by communism. Founded by Czechoslovak intellectuals, SVU promotes scientific and cultural activities and has set up chapters in major cities around the world. This volume, written by one of the Society's founders, details the fascinating history of the SVU over the past fifty years.

Dirty Jewess: A Woman's Courageous Journey to Religious and Political Freedom
Dirty Jewess
A Woman's Courageous Journey to Religious and Political Freedom
Hardcover      ISBN: 9655242773
Dirty Jewess is the personal account of one woman's courageous journey towards religious and political freedom while coming of age in post-Holocaust, communist Czechoslovakia. The narrative recalls the author's experience as a child of Holocaust survivors, living as a refugee in Rome, and finally realizing her dream of becoming a successful American citizen. Silvia Fishbaum's life behind the iron curtain is a universal tale of humanity, resilience, and overcoming adversity. Fishbaum weaves together her mother's testimony of Auschwitz with the testimony of her childhood art tutor, Ludovit Feld--a victim of Mengele's experiments--to create a compelling and layered life narrative.