Black Earth: A Journey through Ukraine (Armchair Traveller)
An in-depth exploration of Ukraine through encounters with the many different people who live there.
“Will someone pay for the spilled blood? No. Nobody.” Mikhail Bulgakov composed this ominous and prophetic phrase in Kiev amid the turmoil of the Russian civil war. Since then, Ukrainian borders have shifted constantly, and its people have suffered numerous military foreign interventions. Ukraine has only existed as an independent state since 1991, and what exactly it was before then is controversial among its people as well as its European neighbors.
In Black Earth: A Journey through the Ukraine, journalist and celebrated travel writer Jens Mühling takes readers across the country amid the ousting of former president Viktor Yanukovych and the Russian annexation of Crimea. Mühling delves deep into daily life in Ukraine, narrating his encounters with Ukrainian nationalists and old communists, Crimean Tatars and Cossacks, smugglers, and soldiers. Black Earth connects all these stories to convey an unconventional and unfiltered view of Ukraine, a country at the crossroads of Europe and Asia and the center of countless conflicts.
In this paperback edition, a new preface is included that takes into account recent developments up to the 2022 war between Russia and Ukraine.
Praise for Black Earth: A Journey through Ukraine (Armchair Traveller)
"A sprightly and informative read, of a journey through a part of the world that Mühling obviously loves. He has a sharp eye and a warm heart."
— Anna Reid, author of Borderland: A Journey Through the History of Ukraine
"Mühling is a delightful travel companion but Black Earth is much more than just a travel book. In his encounters with a diverse cast of Ukrainians Mühling elicits stories about the past and present of their country, which are moving, disturbing, funny and captivating—or all at once. The result is a rich polyphonic portrait of Ukraine. Black Earth is essential reading on the country that is now one everyone's mind."
— Tom de Waal