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Selected Books - Reviews
A History of the Baltic States (Andres Kasekamp), published in 2010, gives a basic, broad overview of the three nations which make up the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. While none of these nations are very large, in comparison to some of their neighbors, including Russia, they are remarkedly different from one another. Each has a distinct language and set of dialects, which were preserved until quite recently as part of society. However, these three states have known overthrow and foreign rule a number of times, each with their own level of societal destruction and economic trouble. This title breaks the history of these states into time periods, focusing on eras which had a marked importance to the Baltic peoples. This includes a medieval period, the time under Tsarist rule, Nazi occupation, and, most recently, the time of Soviet control. Due to the fact that so much information is being shared in just under 200 pages, this is obviously not an all-encompassing history of the Baltic area. However, it does a fairly good job of explaining some of the points of historical interest, which helped to shape the people who live there. This would be a good book for anyone who is looking for an introduction to the area, or who is looking into the different time periods of Northern Europe. Something else to keep in mind is that these three nations have had extensive interaction with outside nations over the centuries. Their national identities are very important, and, now that they are independent of Soviet control, are becoming more visible. This work, written in 2010, clearly doesn't have the most up to date information when considering their current situation. But, so much of what happens in our day is influenced by past interactions.