Robert Kaplan first visited Romania in the 1970s, when he was a young journalist and the country was a bleak Communist backwater. It was one of the darkest corners of Europe, but few Westerners were paying attention. What ensued was a lifelong obsession with a critical, often overlooked country a country that, today, is key to understanding the current threat that Russia poses to Europe. "In Europe s Shadow" is a vivid blend of memoir, travelogue, journalism, and history, a masterly work thirty years in the making the story of a journalist coming of age, and a country struggling to do the same. Through the lens of one country, Kaplan examines larger questions of geography, imperialism, the role of fate in international relations, the Cold War, the Holocaust, and more.
Here Kaplan illuminates the fusion of the Latin West and the Greek East that created Romania, the country that gave rise to Ion Antonescu, Hitler s chief foreign accomplice during World War II, and the country that was home to the most brutal strain of Communism under Nicolae Ceau escu. Romania past and present are rendered in cinematic prose: the ashen faces of citizens waiting in bread lines in Cold War era Bucharest; the B r gan Steppe, laid bare by centuries of foreign invasion; the grim labor camps of the Black Sea Canal; the majestic Gothic church spires of Transylvania and Maramure . Kaplan finds himself in dialogue with the great thinkers of the past, and with the Romanians of today, the philosophers, priests, and politicians those who struggle to keep the flame of humanism alive in the era of a resurgent Russia.