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On the morning of April 26, 1986, Europe witnessed the worst nuclear disaster in history: the explosion of a reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Soviet Ukraine. Dozens died of radiation poisoning, fallout contaminated half the continent, and thousands fell ill.
In Chernobyl, Serhii Plokhy draws on new sources to tell the dramatic stories of the firefighters, scientists, and soldiers who heroically extinguished the nuclear inferno. He lays bare the flaws of the Soviet nuclear industry, tracing the disaster to the authoritarian character of the Communist party rule, the regime's control over scientific information, and its emphasis on economic development over all else.
Today, the risk of another Chernobyl looms in the mismanagement of nuclear power in the developing world. A moving and definitive account, Chernobyl is also an urgent call to action.
On Christmas Day, 1991, President George H. W. Bush addressed the nation to celebrate what he described as a historic American victory: Mikhail Gorbachev's resignation as Soviet prime minister and the subsequent fall of the Soviet Union. The enshrining of that narrative, one in which the end of the Cold War was linked to the triumph of democratic values over communism, took center stage in American public discourse and has persisted for decades--with disastrous consequences for American standing in the world. As prize-winning historian Serhii Plokhy reveals in The Last Empire, the collapse of the Soviet Union was anything but the handiwork of the United States. Bush, in fact, was firmly committed to supporting Gorbachev as he attempted to hold together the USSR in the face of growing independence movements in its republics. Drawing on recently declassified documents and original interviews with key participants, Plokhy presents a bold new interpretation of the Soviet Union's final months, providing invaluable insight into the origins of the current Russian-Ukrainian conflict and the outset of the most dangerous crisis in East-West relations since the end of the Cold War.
Award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy presents the authoritative history of Ukraine and its people from the time of Herodotus to the present crisis with Russia. As Ukraine once again finds itself at the center of global attention, The Gates of Europe provides unique insight into the origins of the most dangerous international crisis since the end of the Cold War.
Imagine you could eavesdrop on a dinner party with three of the most fascinating historical figures of all time. In this landmark book, a gifted Harvard historian puts you in the room with Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt as they meet at a climactic turning point in the war to hash out the terms of the peace.
The ink wasn't dry when the recriminations began. The conservatives who hated Roosevelt's New Deal accused him of selling out. Was he too sick? Did he give too much in exchange for Stalin's promise to join the war against Japan? Could he have done better in Eastern Europe? Both Left and Right would blame Yalta for beginning the Cold War.
Plokhy's conclusions, based on unprecedented archival research, are surprising. He goes against conventional wisdom-cemented during the Cold War- and argues that an ailing Roosevelt did better than we think. Much has been made of FDR's handling of the Depression; here we see him as wartime chief. Yalta is authoritative, original, vividly- written narrative history, and is sure to appeal to fans of Margaret MacMillan's bestseller Paris 1919.
Driven by an urban "bourgeoisie" that rejected the hierarchies of industrial society in favor of a post-modern heterarchy, a previously passive post-Soviet country experienced a profound social revolution that generated new senses: "Dignity" and "fairness" became rallying cries for millions. Europe as the symbolic target of political aspiration gradually faded, but the impact (including on Europe) of Ukraine's revolution remained. When Russia invaded—illegally annexing Crimea and then feeding continuous military conflict in the Donbas—, Ukrainians responded with a massive volunteer effort and touching patriotism. In the process, they transformed their country, the region, and indeed the world.
This book provides a chronicle of Ukraine's Maidan and Russia's ongoing war, and puts forth an analysis of the Revolution of Dignity from the perspective of a participant observer.
At the conference held in in Moscow in October 1943, American officials proposed to their Soviet allies a new operation in the effort to defeat Nazi Germany. The Normandy Invasion was already in the works; what American officials were suggesting until then was a second air front: the US Air Force would establish bases in Soviet-controlled territory, in order to "shuttle-bomb" the Germans from the Eastern front. For all that he had been pushing for the United States and Great Britain to do more to help the war effort--the Soviets were bearing by far the heaviest burden in terms of casualties--Stalin, recalling the presence of foreign troops during the Russian Revolution, balked at the suggestion of foreign soldiers on Soviet soil. His concern was that they would spy on his regime, and it would be difficult to get rid of them afterword. Eventually in early 1944, Stalin was persuaded to give in, and Operation Baseball and then Frantic were initiated. B-17 Flying Fortresses were flown from bases in Italy to the Poltava region in Ukraine.
As Plokhy's book shows, what happened on these airbases mirrors the nature of the Grand Alliance itself. While both sides were fighting for the same goal, Germany's unconditional surrender, differences arose that no common purpose could overcome. Soviet secret policeman watched over the operations, shadowing every move, and eventually trying to prevent fraternization between American servicemen and local women. A catastrophic air raid by the Germans revealed the limitations of Soviet air defenses. Relations soured and the operations went south. Indeed, the story of the American bases foreshadowed the eventual collapse of the Grand Alliance and the start of the Cold War. Using previously inaccessible archives, Forgotten Bastards offers a bottom-up history of the Grand Alliance, showing how it first began to fray on the airfields of World War II.
In 2014, Russia annexed the Crimea and attempted to seize a portion of Ukraine -- only the latest iteration of a centuries-long effort to expand Russian boundaries and create a pan-Russian nation. In Lost Kingdom, award-winning historian Serhii Plokhy argues that we can only understand the confluence of Russian imperialism and nationalism today by delving into the nation's history. Spanning over 500 years, from the end of the Mongol rule to the present day, Plokhy shows how leaders from Ivan the Terrible to Joseph Stalin to Vladimir Putin exploited existing forms of identity, warfare, and territorial expansion to achieve imperial supremacy.
An authoritative and masterful account of Russian nationalism, Lost Kingdom chronicles the story behind Russia's belligerent empire-building quest.
A thrilling tale of Soviet spy craft, complete with exploding parcels, elaborately staged coverups, double agents, and double crosses, The Man with the Poison Gun offers unparalleled insight into the shadowy world of Cold War espionage.
In Chernobyl, Serhii Plokhy, rinomato storico e scrittore di origine ucraina, ricrea questi eventi, minuto per minuto, in tutto il loro dramma, raccontando le storie dei pompieri, scienziati, operai e soldati che si trovarono intrappolati nell'Armageddon nucleare e riuscirono a fare ciò che apparentemente era impossibile: estinguere l'inferno e mettere il reattore a "dormire".
Basato su documenti dell'epoca − molti dei quali inediti e molti riservati −, e sulla testimonianza diretta di chi c'era, il libro è un resoconto toccante del dramma di eroi, carnefici e vittime, ma anche un'analisi impietosa della superpotenza sovietica. Un colosso che, pochi anni dopo, sarebbe drammaticamente collassato, distrutto dall'interno dal suo disfunzionale sistema politico e gestionale che il disastro di Chernobyl ha contribuito a mettere a nudo.
Ukraine and Europe challenges the popular perception of Ukraine as a country torn between Europe and the east. Twenty-two scholars from Europe, North America, and Australia explore the complexities of Ukraine’s relationship with Europe and its role the continent’s historical and cultural development.
Encompassing literary studies, history, linguistics, and art history, the essays in this volume illuminate the interethnic, interlingual, intercultural, and international relationships that Ukraine has participated in. The volume is divided chronologically into three parts: the early modern era, the 19th and 20th century, and the Soviet/post-Soviet period. Ukraine in Europe offers new and innovative interpretations of historical and cultural moments while establishing a historical perspective for the pro-European sentiments that have arisen in Ukraine following the Euromaidan protests.