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Updating the popular 2003 first edition, this book is a narrative history of the Baltic States with particular focus on the events of the 20th and 21st centuries.The Baltic States--Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania--were granted independence from the Soviet Union in 1991. Since then, the three countries have struggled with sluggish economies, tensions with Russia, and government corruption. This extensively updated second edition of a well-regarded reference illuminates the events of the last decade, including the acceptance of all three nations into the European Union in 2004. Although it concentrates on the 20th and 21st centuries, the wide-ranging work covers major historical currents that have swept through Europe from the age of the Crusades through two world wars and into modern times. Updates include events that have occurred since 2003, such as the area's declining birth rates and inflation problems that led to the European Union denying the adoption of the Euro in Lithuania. A new chapter entitled "The Totalitarian Experience, 1940-1953" focuses specifically on the major tragedies of the 20th century: the Baltic States' loss of independence, their conquest by Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, and the horrors of the first years of Soviet rule. Historical controversies concerning World War II and the Soviet era are also addressed. Additionally, the Notable Figures section has been updated, the bibliography now includes many electronic resources, and photographs have been added.
About the Author
Kevin C. O'Connor is associate professor of history at Gonzaga University, Spokane, WA.