Oldcastle Books

  • Publication for the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall (November ’09)
  • Five years on from the Eastern expansion of the EU (May 1st '04) which saw Slovenia, along with the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovakia
  • A compact overview of Eastern European political and social history which explains the fabric of different Eastern European nations.
  • Written in accessible language, requiring no previous knowledge of the region.
  • Essential reading for the enquiring traveller to Eastern Europe, serving as a valuable complement to travel guides to the region.
release date: November 2009
price: £12.99
ISBN13: 9781842433409
binding: paperback
format: Royal (234 x 156mm)
extent: 172
BIC code: HBJD


For a review copy, or for further information,
please contact: Frances Teehan
using our contact form
Publisher: Oldcastle Books
PO Box 394
Herts AL5 1XJ
Tel/Fax: +44 (0)1582 766348
UK Distribution: Turnaround
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London N22 6TZ
Tel: +44 (0)208 829 3000
Fax: +44 (0)208 881 5088

What's So Eastern About Eastern Europe?

Leon Marc

Five years have passed since ten countries from Central & Eastern Europe joined the European Union and twenty years since the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989 - but ignorance about what is popularly still called Eastern Europe is as widespread as ever. Slovenia still gets mixed up with Slovakia, the Slavs remain a mystery in a Europe apparently dominated by Romanic and Germanic nations and a country like the Czech Republic is labelled as Eastern European, although one needs to travel west to get from Vienna to Prague.

Leon Marc gives the reader the big picture of Eastern Europe - its political, economic, social and cultural history, the nature of changes there and of the issues at stake in the political and economic transition - while putting the fall of the Berlin Wall and the EU enlargement into a broader perspective of general European history. Three key strands of Eastern Europe – Central Europe, Eastern Europe proper and Southeast Europe – are identified and the Germanic, Byzantine and Ottoman influences on the region are examined.

What’s So Eastern About Eastern Europe? is written in an accessible, non-academic way, addressing the stereotypes about the region and their roots and explaining why the notion of Eastern Europe is now obsolete and misleading. It gives an Eastern European’s perspective, and is informed by the author’s own personal experience of the changes that brought the Wall down.

About the Author

Leon Marc is a diplomat and writer, with a deep interest in history. Currently the Slovenian Ambassador to The Hague, Netherlands, he studied Public Policy and Management in the UK and was involved in the student movement in his native country at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. He witnessed his country joining the European Union in 2004 as a diplomat in Dublin, Ireland and later dealt with the Western Balkans file.


'A critical reading of European history and an eye-witness report of pre-1989 citizen protests in the Eastern bloc highlight overlooked narratives and the undervalued potential of the region. '
read the full review >>
Guy Kiddey - The Vienna Review

'Comprehensively and concisely, Leon Marc’s book presents readers with vital insights into the different dimensions of our common European history and culture.' - read the full review >>
Prof Dr Jaap W. de Zwaan, Director of the Nederlands Institute of International Relations -

'It is the great merit of Leon Marc's book however that he delves behind the brief and inglorious communist half-century to uncover the deep traditions of a region' - read the full review >>
Enda O'Doherty - Dublin Review of Books

'This spirited, erudite polemic against the ignorant stereotyping and arbitrary lumping together of the former communist-ruled countries in Europe under the label of ‘Eastern Europe’ is most timely' - read the full review >>
Christopher Cviic - Royal Institute of International Affairs Journal