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May 14 , 2010

In Europe's Shadow

Two Cold Wars and a Thirty-Year Journey Through Romania and Beyond


From the New York Times bestselling author Robert D. Kaplan, named one of the world’s Top 100 Global Thinkers by Foreign Policy magazine, comes a riveting journey through one of Europe’s frontier countries—and a potent examination of the forces that will determine Europe’s fate in the postmodern age.
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Robert D. Kaplan is one of our leading international journalists, someone who can explain the most complicated and volatile regions and show why they’re relevant to our world. In Surrender or Starve, Kaplan illuminates the fault lines in the Horn of Africa, which is emerging as a crucial region for America’s ongoing war on terrorism.…

Robert Kaplan first visited Romania in the 1970s, when he was a young journalist and the country was a bleak Communist backwater. It was one of the darkest corners of Europe, but few Westerners were paying attention. What ensued was a lifelong obsession with a critical, often overlooked country—a country that, today, is key to understanding the current threat that Russia poses to Europe. In Europe’s Shadow is a vivid blend of memoir, travelogue, journalism, and history, a masterly work thirty years in the making—the story of a journalist coming of age, and a country struggling to do the same. Through the lens of one country, Kaplan examines larger questions of geography, imperialism, the role of fate in international relations, the Cold War, the Holocaust, and more.

Here Kaplan illuminates the fusion of the Latin West and the Greek East that created Romania, the country that gave rise to Ion Antonescu, Hitler’s chief foreign accomplice during World War II, and the country that was home to the most brutal strain of Communism under Nicolae Ceaușescu. Romania past and present are rendered in cinematic prose: the ashen faces of citizens waiting in bread lines in Cold War–era Bucharest; the Bărăgan Steppe, laid bare by centuries of foreign invasion; the grim labor camps of the Black Sea Canal; the majestic Gothic church spires of Transylvania and Maramureş. Kaplan finds himself in dialogue with the great thinkers of the past, and with the Romanians of today, the philosophers, priests, and politicians—those who struggle to keep the flame of humanism alive in the era of a resurgent Russia.

Upon his return to Romania in 2013 and 2014, Kaplan found the country transformed yet again—now a traveler’s destination shaped by Western tastes, yet still emerging from the long shadows of Hitler and Stalin. In Europe’s Shadow is the story of an ideological and geographic frontier—and the book you must read in order to truly understand the crisis with Russia, and within Europe itself.

Advance praise for In Europe’s Shadow

“A masterly work of important history, analysis, and prophecy about the ancient and modern rise of Romania as a roundabout between Russia and Europe . . . I learned something new on every page. Robert D. Kaplan is a master.”—Tom Brokaw

“A tour de force of cultural and political travel writing in which Romania’s complex past and uncertain present become vivid and newly urgent.”—Colin Thubron, author of Shadow of the Silk Road and co-editor of Patrick Leigh Fermor’s The Broken Road

“In a triple journey through books, landscapes, and histories, Kaplan tackles the meaning of geography, the influence of intellectuals, and the daffiness—and power—of nationalism. . . . Timely, insightful, and deeply honest.”—Charles King, professor of international affairs, Georgetown University, and author of Midnight at the Pera Palace: The Birth of Modern Istanbul

“A favorite of mine for years, Robert D. Kaplan is a thoughtful and insight-driven historian who writes clear and compelling prose, but what I like most about him is his political sophistication. In Europe’s Shadow makes you look up and think about what’s on the page—a true pleasure for the reader.”—Alan Furst

From the Hardcover edition.
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