Vanished Kingdoms – CCCP and wrapup

This last chapter of Norman Davies‘ book on states that have been lost to history purports to be on the Soviet Union.  However, it really spends most of its effort in discussing Estonia, and again falls a bit flat.

In a way, it reminds me of the chapter on Byzantium.  There, he spent so much effort on complaining about how everyone miscasts and ignores the state’s impact that he barely noticed that he was producing the same result himself.  Here, even as he complains about the simplistic nature of everyone’s view of the USSR and its rise he glosses over that same period in a few paragraphs.  A good chapter on the USSR would have been interesting.  A good chapter on Estonia would have been so as well.  A chapter that wanders from one subject to the other accomplishes little.

…and a wrap!

There are fifteen chapters in the book, about ten of which stuck to the theme well and were interesting and successful.  The failures to me were the chapters where he lost track of what his book was about and either chose a poor subject or misused a good one.  The first half to two-thirds were very good, and had me thinking about getting more of his works.  The latter part of the book had me questioning that, as the closer the chapters neared the present day the worse they were.

I suppose if he follows that pattern than I could just be ready for the book to taper off in value in the last two centuries or so.


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