In Europe’s Shadow: Two Cold Wars And A Thirty-year Journey Through Romania And Beyond
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 countrya country that, today, is key to understanding the current threat that Russia poses to Europe. In Europes Shadow is a vivid blend of memoir, travelogue, journalism, and history, a masterly work thirty years in the makingthe 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, Hitlers chief foreign accomplice during World War II, and the country that was home to the most brutal strain of Communism under Nicolae Ceauescu. Romania past and present are rendered in cinematic prose: the ashen faces of citizens waiting in bread lines in Cold Warera Bucharest the Brgan 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 Maramure. Kaplan finds himself in dialogue with the great thinkers of the past, and with the Romanians of today, the philosophers, priests, and politiciansthose 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 againnow a travelers destination shaped by Western tastes, yet still emerging from the long shadows of Hitler and Stalin. In Europes Shadow is the story of an ideological and geographic frontierand the book you must read in order to truly understand the crisis with Russia, and within Europe itself.