To the surprise of many, the Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991, and out of its ruins arose an independent Ukraine. This was a remarkable achievement, and one that owed much to activities in Galicia, as Paul Robert Magocsi reveals here.
Magocsi begins with a brief historical survey of Galicia, where Ukrainian national and cultural interests have long flourished. His subsequent essays focus on the role played by Galicia during the nineteenth century, when Ukrainians were struggling for recognition as a distinct nationality. He places Galicia in the larger context of Ukrainian and eastern European politics, then follows with studies of the nuts and bolts of nation building – language, culture, ideology and so on. He also explores the influence of the Habsburg Empire in creating unique conditions for Ukraine's national and social revival, and considers the impact of both Habsburg and Soviet rule on the Ukrainian national psyche.
This study provides a solid background for understanding nineteenth-century Galicia as the historic Piedmont of the Ukrainian national revival. It is essential reading for historians, public-policy makers, and all those interested in regional differentiation within Europe's second largest country – Ukraine.