It is not every day that an essential, easy to read book about Romania is published in English.
It helps that the author is Robert D. Kaplan:
Robert D. Kaplan is the bestselling author of sixteen books on foreign affairs and travel translated into many languages, including In Europe’s Shadow, Asia’s Cauldron, The Revenge of Geography, Monsoon, The Coming Anarchy, and Balkan Ghosts.
He is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a contributing editor at The Atlantic, where his work has appeared for three decades. He was chief geopolitical analyst at Stratfor, a visiting professor at the United States Naval Academy, and a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board.
Foreign Policy magazine twice named him one of the world’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.”
The travel-book format makes it a pleasant read, but it is the work of a scholar. There is a wealth of references and it’s a well researched document.
Mr Kaplan visited Romania twice in the early 1980s, before being banned by Ceausescu’s regime for his writings on the demolitions in Bucharest that made way for “Casa Poporului”.
He then returned just after the revolution of December 1989, and a number of times up to 2015, where the book stops.
The author declares he is in love with Romania, and I never had a doubt about it while reading the book.
The “…and beyond” in the subtitle is important, as Romania is presented in the context of Europe’s past 2000+ years. This makes the book an interesting lecture for any European, or anyone interested in that part of the world.