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The Ethnic Conflict Research Digest

1998, Vol. 1 No. 1 .


Ukrainian Nationalism in the 1990's: A Minority Faith
Andrew Wilson.

(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997).
202pp. Index. Bibl. 45.00; ISBN 0-521-48285-2
Pb.: 15.95; ISBN 0-521-57457-9.


Despite the geopolitical importance of Ukraine in the post-Soviet era, relatively few new books in English have been published particularly about the country since independence was declared in 1991. Therefore, Wilson's book is a much needed contribution providing both an approachable introduction to contemporary Ukrainian studies and access to information and perspectives gleaned from sources not readily available to a non-specialist readership. The thematic organization of the eight chapters consciously highlights a number of contentious points regarding Ukrainian history, nationalism and national identity, national communism, domestic politics and foreign relations. Wilson acknowledges the debatable nature of some of his conclusions, such as his assertion that an "element of confrontation [between nationalists and anti-nationalists] is ... guaranteed," (p.172) and his exploration in abbreviated format of such contention while also taking a clear stand is laudable. Ukrainian studies specialists may criticize the relative brevity with which arguable points are presented. However, to have gone into much greater detail would have sacrificed clarity and scope of interest to a more general audience. Wilson's book should not be seen so much as a conclusive endpiece but, more importantly perhaps, an initial presentation intended to encourage further interest in and discussion of the multiple issues he raises regarding both Ukraine specifically and the saliency of national identity in contemporary politics generally.


M.K. Flynn, University of the West of England



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