Friday, March 4, 2022

Friday 5 - Ukraine


So the five can be connections of any kind. Books can have been read last year or any year. Books can be used more than once.They may not have been read yet. They might be ones you just bought or want to buy.  It can be as simple or as complicated as you like. Maybe it’s not a list of actual books, but things connected to books – e.g. favourite book shops, recipes etc. It might even be five movies related to books or five poems or five poets or five bookish moments, five thoughts about reading – be creative! - The Book Date

Unless you've been living under a rock, you know what's going on. Now, as I write this, it's Sunday (2/27/2022). I can't see the future, so I have no idea what's going to actually be going on when this goes live. I don't even know if any of us will be alive after Putin has ordered his military command to put nuclear deterrent forces on high alert

It's a very scary time, to me at least. All I do is watch the news. I feel so bad for the Ukrainians. But they are putting up one hell of a fight! 

Since this is all I can seem to focus on, I thought I would share 5 books that all have one thing in common. Ukraine. 


Ukraine is currently embroiled in a tense battle with Russia to preserve its economic and political independence. But today’s conflict is only the latest in a long history of battles over Ukraine’s existence as a sovereign nation. As award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues in The Gates of Europe, we must examine Ukraine’s past in order to understand its fraught present and likely future.

Situated between Europe, Russia, and the Asian East, Ukraine was shaped by the empires that have used it as a strategic gateway between East and West—from the Romans and Ottomans to the Third Reich and the Soviet Union, all have engaged in global fights for supremacy on Ukrainian soil. Each invading army left a lasting mark on the landscape and on the population, making modern Ukraine an amalgam of competing cultures.



The crisis in Ukraine and its implications for both the Crimean peninsula and Russia's relations with the West.The current conflict in Ukraine has spawned the most serious crisis between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War. It has undermined European security, raised questions about NATO's future, and put an end to one of the most ambitious projects of U.S. foreign policy--building a partnership with Russia. It also threatens to undermine U.S. diplomatic efforts on issues ranging from terrorism to nuclear proliferation. And in the absence of direct negotiations, each side is betting that political and economic pressure will force the other to blink first. Caught in this dangerous game of chicken, the West cannot afford to lose sight of the importance of stable relations with Russia.

This book puts the conflict in historical perspective by examining the evolution of the crisis and assessing its implications both for the Crimean peninsula and for Russia's relations with the West more generally. Experts in the international relations of post-Soviet states, political scientists Rajan Menon and Eugene Rumer clearly show what is at stake in Ukraine, explaining the key economic, political, and security challenges and prospects for overcoming them. They also discuss historical precedents, sketch likely outcomes, and propose policies for safeguarding U.S.-Russia relations in the future. In doing so, they provide a comprehensive and accessible study of a conflict whose consequences will be felt for many years to come.



April 25, 1986, in Chernobyl, was a turning point in world history. The disaster not only changed the world’s perception of nuclear power and the science that spawned it, but also our understanding of the planet’s delicate ecology. With the images of the abandoned homes and playgrounds beyond the barbed wire of the 30-kilometer Exclusion Zone, the rusting graveyards of contaminated trucks and helicopters, the farmland lashed with black rain, the event fixed for all time the notion of radiation as an invisible killer.

Chernobyl was also a key event in the destruction of the Soviet Union, and, with it, the United States’ victory in the Cold War. For Moscow, it was a political and financial catastrophe as much as an environmental and scientific one. With a total cost of 18 billion rubles—at the time equivalent to $18 billion—Chernobyl bankrupted an already teetering economy and revealed to its population a state built upon a pillar of lies.

The full story of the events that started that night in the control room of Reactor No.4 of the V.I. Lenin Nuclear Power Plant has never been told—until now. Through two decades of reporting, new archival information, and firsthand interviews with witnesses, journalist Adam Higginbotham tells the full dramatic story, including Alexander Akimov and Anatoli Dyatlov, who represented the best and worst of Soviet life; denizens of a vanished world of secret policemen, internal passports, food lines, and heroic self-sacrifice for the Motherland. Midnight in Chernobyl, award-worthy nonfiction that reads like sci-fi, shows not only the final epic struggle of a dying empire but also the story of individual heroism and desperate, ingenious technical improvisation joining forces against a new kind of enemy.


The momentous new book from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Gulag and Iron Curtain.

In 1932-33, nearly four million Ukrainians died of starvation, having been deliberately deprived of food. It is one of the most devastating episodes in the history of the twentieth century. With unprecedented authority and detail, Red Famine investigates how this happened, who was responsible, and what the consequences were. It is the fullest account yet published of these terrible events.

The book draws on a mass of archival material and first-hand testimony only available since the end of the Soviet Union, as well as the work of Ukrainian scholars all over the world. It includes accounts of the famine by those who survived it, describing what human beings can do when driven mad by hunger. It shows how the Soviet state ruthlessly used propaganda to turn neighbours against each other in order to expunge supposedly 'anti-revolutionary' elements. It also records the actions of extraordinary individuals who did all they could to relieve the suffering.

The famine was rapidly followed by an attack on Ukraine's cultural and political leadership - and then by a denial that it had ever happened at all. Census reports were falsified and memory suppressed. Some western journalists shamelessly swallowed the Soviet line; others bravely rejected it, and were undermined and harassed. The Soviet authorities were determined not only that Ukraine should abandon its national aspirations, but that the country's true history should be buried along with its millions of victims. Red Famine, a triumph of scholarship and human sympathy, is a milestone in the recovery of those memories and that history. At a moment of crisis between Russia and Ukraine, it also shows how far the present is shaped by the past.



Winner of the 2012 Gourmand Cookbook Award for Best Eastern European Cookbook!

Now available in paperback, this popular Hippocrene cookbook introduces readers to the fresh foods, exquisite tastes, hospitality and generous spirit of the Ukrainian table. Scattered amongst the recipes are quotes, poems, historical facts, folklore, and illustrations, making this cookbook not only a culinary adventure but a unique cultural exploration as well. Includes:

  • More than 200 easy-to-follow recipes
  • An introduction to Ukraine’s history, culture, and cuisine
  • Helpful tips and notes with many recipes
  • Charming illustrations by renowned Ukrainian-American artist Laurette Kovary
 

This authentic cookbook invites the home cook to sample, explore and experiment with the freshest ingredients to prepare appetizers such as Pickled Herring, or one of eight regional variations of the quintessential Ukrainian soup, Borshch. You’ll find classics such as Chicken Kyiv or Holiday-Stuffed Roast Goose, or select more contemporary dishes like Grilled Pork Tenderloin served with a delectable plum sauce or Venison Steaks with Cherry-Mustard Butter. From elegant fare such as Whole Salmon in Aspic or Poached Carp Fillets with Yogurt-Scallion Sauce to classic homestyle dishes like stuffed cabbage (Holubsti) and dumplings (Varenyky), there is something for every occasion. Get the inside scoop on how to prepare special holiday breads like Ukrainian Paska or Orange-Iced Babka and detailed instructions on how to make various bread pastries, cakes and tortes.

Readers will certainly fall in love with Ukraine all over again, or perhaps, for the first time.



I wanted to end on a more light hearted note with the cookbook. I actually ended up buying three of these books on the list. One I already owned. I hope that you have a great weekend. Stay safe my friend.