Book Reviews Poland-Current Issues Recommended

Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas

by Marek Jan Chodakiewicz (Author)

Marek Jan Chodakiewicz is professor of history and holds the Kosciuszko Chair of Polish Studies at the Institute of World Politics. His writings have appeared in World Affairs, World Politics Review, and The American Spectator. In addition, he is the author or editor of numerous books, including Between Nazis and Soviets: Occupation Politics in Poland, 1939-1947; After the Holocaust: Polish-Jewish Conflict in the Wake of World War Two; and Poland’s Transformation: A Work in Progress.



“In this impressively ambitious, panoramic examination of a substantial part of Central and Eastern Europe roughly equivalent to the lands which constituted the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth of the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, Professor Chodakiewicz accentuates their rich diversity in ethnic, economic, religious and political terms. . . . This brilliantly conceived, always fascinating and richly documented study is, incontrovertibly, an outstanding scholarly contribution, which should be mandatory reading for all with a serious interest in the history of Central and Eastern Europe and in American and broader international politics.”

Peter D. Stachura, Slavonic & East European Review

“Regional identity as a political concept is a useful, if controversial, vehicle for exploring important international relations issues. Chodakiewicz (history, Institute of World Politics) formulates “intermarium” to argue that the US should be more actively engaged with the region between the Baltic and the Black Seas. He asserts that the US has failed to address the security implications of a “resurgent” Russia with “imperial objectives” that focus primarily on the intermarium. Characterizing the history of the region as an effective defender of Western civilization since the time of the Mongols, he argues that today there is a convergence of interests and values among the states of the region and the US. . . . He concludes the book with a plea to scholars to engage in rebutting “Communist lies,” ethnocentric myths, and Western distortions about the region. The book is recommended for all those interested in pursuing this challenge. Summing Up: Recommended.”

R. P. Peters, Choice

“[A] well-researched and well-written book; a balanced combination of theoretical insights with good narratives; an objective study of an area full of subjectivities; and, a thorough summary of important historical events.”

—Nicholas Dima, SFPPR News & Analysis

“For Chodakiewicz the Intermarium includes the Baltic States, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova. It is hard to pick out the primary theme of the book—there are many—but one of them is that the struggle for the soul of the Intermarium is between the Polish model, which represents tolerance, prosperity, parliamentary democracy, intellectual achievement, and freedom, and the Russian model, which represents totalitarianism, corruption, cronyism, atheism, and moral relativism.”

—Karl A. Roider, The Sarmatian Review

“The idea of a Baltic-Black Sea alliance has a long and complicated history. See in particulate  Marek Jan Chodakiewicz’s magisterial Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas.”

—Paul Goble, Window on Eurasia

“The Intermarium is one of the most culturally and politically significant regions of Europe. Yet historians and journalists too often limit themselves to a consideration of interests of the powers that have ravaged it. In this fascinating and deeply researched book, Marek Jan Chodakiewicz restores the region’s separate identity. He shows the interplay of its peoples and their often tragic destinies, but also the traditional love of freedom that makes the Intermarium a vital source of support for the ideals of the West.”

—David Satter, Hudson Institute; Foreign Policy Institute of Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies

“Dr. Chodakiewicz’s unprecedented, long-overdue impeccably researched and extraordinarily well-argued study directly challenges the common view of the Intermarium as mere borderland between the ‘West’ and Russia. Professor Chodakiewicz’s clarity of thought, highly readable prose, impressive command of 1,000 years of the area’s history, and his unique perspectives gleaned from expert analysis of a multitude of foreign archival material rarely seen in English compel all those in academia, the US government, and the US foreign policy establishment to overturn the Moscow-centric approach to the Interrimarium that has governed US foreign policy for the last 70 years.”

—Dr. Robert W. Stephan (CIA Ret), Adjunct Professor Institute of World Politics; author, Stalin’s Secret War, Soviet Counterintelligence against the Nazis 1941-1945

Intermarium: The Land between the Black and Baltic Seas is an important, path-breaking work. It serves to redefine our conceptualization of the European world.The comparison of [Chodakiewicz’s] efforts with those of Raul Hilberg is on target.”

—Irving Louis Horowitz, Hannah Arendt Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University

“This extraordinary new book by Professor Marek Chodakiewicz, a scholarly yet eminently readable and engaging tour de force, should establish his reputation as one of the most erudite historians of what is generally known as Central and Eastern Europe writing in the United States today. Ever the iconoclast, Professor Chodakiewicz exposes a plethora of inaccuracies and disinformation about this region promoted by Russian—and later Soviet—imperialist narratives, exacerbated by varying American biases which, over the course of more than a century, have resulted in a grossly distorted understanding of this critical part of the Western world which, in turn, prevents a clear appreciation of its own heritage rooted in the ideology of freedom. Many in academia will find his analyses unsettling; but no honest reader can fail to be impressed by the thoroughly researched arguments and the enormous breadth of his perspective. Intermarium is a breathtaking accomplishment.”

—Juliana Geran Pilon, director, Center for Culture and Security Institute of World Politics

“Based on noble ideals obscured by layers of colonialism from East and West, Chodakiewicz’s vision of Eastern Europe’s potential is boldly drawn and elegantly written.”

—Ewa Thompson, research professor of Slavic Studies, Rice University

“In this broad-minded and generous work written in the spirit of Oskar Halecki and Norman Davies, Chodakiewicz explores both the history and the contemporary problems of the lands between the Baltic and Black Seas. His work will prove essential for both academics and policy makers as well as any reader seeking a deeper understanding of the complexity and diversity of east-central Europe.”

—John Radzilowski, University of Alaska Southeast

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