This is a historical survey of Central Europe, a region that encompasses contemporary Germany, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia. Unlike almost all the previous histories of this region, Lonnie Johnson doesn't divide the area into 'west' and 'east', or view it simply as the battlefield of the Cold War. Acknowledging the recent unification of Germany, the demise of the Soviet Union, and the re-asserting of Central Europe as an autonomous region, Johnson instead tells the unique history of the area. Each chapter is thematically organized around a few key issues or events that are particularly important for developing an understanding of the period addressed. The complexity of Central Europe that stems from its delightful, astonishing, and sometimes perplexing diversity is something all those interested in the area confront. Johnson's lucid, cogent prose helps make clear the competing ideological, national, religious, and economic interests that have driven the history of the region.
Thorough, objective, and focused on Northern Eastern Europe, Johnson's work stands out both as a useful core text covering an area of growing interest and a beautifully rendered account of a region that is only beginning to receive current scholarly attention.