In the following posts – each of which represents a chapter in the book – you can read about the background to the chapter and the content it covers, and then read an excerpt from that chapter.

Vikings and Cossacks

Vikings and Cossacks

Making the Chapter: Seeing a ship larger than a football field and higher than an apartment block docked in Kyiv is a reminder that the Dnipro is a mighty river. Recalling -more-

Steamy Business

Steamy Business

Making the Chapter: If there is one image that encapsulates the realnost of post-Communist Ukraine it is that of the oligarch rising to prominence as a result of opportunism and thuggery, -more-

A Medal at Any Cost

A Medal at Any Cost

Making of the Chapter: Living in a society, such as the Soviet Union, where one’s role and behaviour was so tightly conscribed and where role models were largely determined by the -more-

Feast or Famine

Feast or Famine

Making the Chapter: To hide the deaths of many millions of people for fifty years was quite an achievement. More justly, it was an appalling accomplishment which was only possible in -more-

Politicians and Partisans

Politicians and Partisans

Making the Chapter: Don’t let anyone tell you that political history is boring, at least not if they’re referring to Ukraine. The leading figures of Ukraine in the twentieth century were -more-

In Shevchenko Land

In Shevchenko Land

Making the Chapter: Nowadays Ukrainian writers can write about anything, but not so long ago that was an unrealistic hope. Blogging has replaced the underground press (Samizdat). Twenty years ago a -more-

Taking the Medicine

Taking the Medicine

Making the Chapter: Most people can’t name a Ukrainian famous in the field of medicine.  And yet, this is a sphere in which they have excelled. The conundrum is in part -more-

Religious Wars

Religious Wars

Making the Chapter:   In Religious Wars I look at how Christianity was adopted in Ukraine, the cult of atheism and Foucault’s Pendulum, and the KGB infiltration of the church. A review -more-

Sex and the Soviets

Sex and the Soviets

Making the Chapter: Putting together this chapter – Sex and the Soviets - was one of the funniest and most frustrating pieces of the jig saw.  The ground covered includes the -more-

At The Coal Face

At The Coal Face

Making the Chapter: If there was ever a good time to work in a coal mine in Ukraine it was probably in the 1960s and 1970s. Coal miners were among the -more-

Bits, Bytes, Trits, and Trytes

Bits, Bytes, Trits, and Trytes

Making the Chapter: Ukrainian markets are awash with pirated computer software and some say that Ukraine is the centre of excellence of hacking. Neither paint Ukraine in a particularly good light, -more-

Touring Crimea

Touring Crimea

Making the Chapter:  Touring Crimea is first and foremost a celebration of a region.  Its rich and tumultuous history spans millennia, from the legend of Jason and the Argonauts and their heroic -more-

Whirlybirds and Witches

Whirlybirds and Witches

Making the Chapter: The science of flight and Ukraine have had a love affair for more than a century. Many will already be familiar with the names of Sikorsky and Antonov, -more-

Zoos, Science, and Evolution

Zoos, Science, and Evolution

Making the Chapter: In a country where people had little exposure to the outside world and virtually no access to travel, a zoo guidebook served as a travel guide for a -more-

The Chief Designer

The Chief Designer

Making the Chapter: I’ve heard cynics say that the only areas where the Soviet Union outshone the USA were space exploration and ballet, and that in the first it was only -more-

Presidents and the People

Presidents and the People

Making the Chapter: It’s hard not to be disappointed at the lack of progress that Ukraine has made in the last twenty years towards a better economy and greater social justice. -more-