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Along Ukraine’s River

A Social and Environmental History of the Dnipro


Roman Adrian Cybriwsky

Roman Adrian Cybriwsky is Professor of Geography and Urban Studies at Temple University, Philadelphia


The River Dnipro (formerly better known by the Russian name of Dnieper) is intimately linked to the history and identity of Ukraine. Cybriwsky discusses the history of the river, from when it was formed and its many uses and modifi cations by human agencies from ancient times to the present.

From key vantage points along the river’s course—its source in western Russia, through Belarus and Ukraine, to the Black Sea—interesting stories shed light on past and present life in Ukraine. Scenes set along the river from Russian and Ukrainian literature are evoked, as well as musical compositions and works of art. Topics include the legacy of the region’s cultural ancestors as the Kyivan Rus, the period of Cossack dominion, the epic battles for the river’s bridges in World War II, the building of dams and huge reservoirs by the Soviet Union, and the crisis of Chornobyl (Chernobyl). The author argues that the Dnipro and the farmlands along it are Ukraine’s chief natural resources, and that the country’s future depends on putting both to good use.

Written without academic pretence in an informal style with dashes of humor, Along Ukraine’s River is illustrated with original line drawings, maps, and photographs.



Chapter 1: A National River

1.1 Rivers and Nations

1.2 The Heart of Ukraine

1.3 A Note about Decommunization

Chapter 2: A Work of Nature and the Works of Men

2.1 Introduction

2.2 The River in Russia

2.3 The River in Belarus

2.4 Ukrainian Territory

Chapter 3: A Winding Course through History

3.1 The Borysthenes

3.2 Kyivan Rus’

3.3 Ukrainian Cossacks

3.4 Russia’s Ukraine

Chapter 4: Soviet River: From DniproHES to Chornobyl

4.1 Introduction

4.2 Soviet Stroika

4.3 Battle Lines

4.4 Chornobyl

4.5 Enjoying the River

Chapter 5: The River’s Health

5.1 Pollution Inherited and Imported

5.2 Radioactive River

5.3 Other Pollution

Chapter 6: Kyiv—Whose Ukraine?

6.1 National Capital

6.2 Landmarks of Religion

6.3 Soviet Landmarks

6.4 The Holodomor Monument

6.5 Landscapes of Corruption

6.6 A Green Zone

 Chapter 7: Around the Kremenchuk Sea

7.1 A Drowned Land

7.2 Nostalgia

7.3 Cities and Towns

7.4 Orbita

Chapter 8: At the Great Bend of the Dnipro

8.1 Introduction

8.2 Rapids and Steppes

8.3 Industrial Heartland

8.4 Iconography and Toponymy

Chapter 9: Zaporizhia and Dnipro (City)—Ukraine Reclaimed

9.1 Introduction

9.2 Meeting DniproHES

9.3 Exploring Khortytsia

9.4 Zaporizhia

9.5 Dnipro (City)

Chapter 10: Down the Lower Course

10.1 Introduction

10.2 The Upper Kakhovka Reservoir

10.3 The Lower Kakhovka Reservoir

10.4 Below the Last Dam

Chapter 11: Some Thoughts About Ukraine



280 pages, 40 black-and-white illustrations, 10 maps
978-963-386-204-9 cloth
$60.00 / €53.00 / £46.00