What is a people? What is a nation? Why do some peoples insist that nations must be synonymous with their particular group of people? And why are others content to be simply part of larger nations composed of many peoples?
These are some of the questions that John Connelly addresses in his new book From Peoples into Nations: A History of Eastern Europe, published early this year. Nor are they the only questions with which Connelly is preoccupied. Why exactly is the history of Eastern Europe over the last two centuries one of conflict? Was this inevitable? Were these peoples always atagonistic towards one another? The answers that he gives may surprise you.
John Connelly is Professor of History and Director of the Institute for East European, Eurasian, and Slavic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Past books by Professor Connelly include Captive University: The Sovietization of East German, Czech, and Polish Higher Education, 1945-1956 (University of North Carolina Press, 2000) and From Enemy to Brother: The Revolution in Catholic Teaching on the Jews (Harvard University Press, 2012).