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WITH THEIR BACKS TO THE MOUNTAINS

A History of Carpathian Rus’ and Carpatho-Rusyns


Paul Robert Magocsi is Professor of History and Political Science, Chair of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Toronto

This is a history of a stateless people, the Carpatho-Rusyns, and their historic homeland, Carpathian Rus’, located in the heart of central Europe. A little over 100,000 Carpatho-Rusyns are registered in official censuses but their population is estimated at around 1,000,000, the greater part in Ukraine and Slovakia. The majority of the diaspora—nearly 600,000—lives in the US.

At the present, when it is fashionable to speak of nationalities as “imagined communities” created by intellectuals or elites who may live in the historic homeland, Carpatho-Rusyns provide an ideal example of a people made—or some would say still being made—before our very eyes. The book traces the evolution of Carpathian Rus’ from earliest prehistoric times to the present, and the complex manner in which a distinct Carpatho-Rusyn people, since the mid-nineteenth century, came into being, disappeared, and then re-appeared in the wake of the revolutions of 1989 and the collapse of communist rule in central and eastern Europe.

To help guide the reader further there are 34 detailed maps plus an annotated discussion of relevant books, chapters, and journal articles.

550 pages, 2015
978-615-5053-46-7 cloth $85.00 / €74.00 / £57.00
978-615-5053-39-9 paperback $45.00 / €39.00 / £30.00

"Magocsi's book is an invaluable source of detailed information for those who are interested in a history of the Rusyns and their diaspora, for those who teach the history of East Central Europe it is also a useful textbook with helpful inserts that explain certain terms, events, and historiographical problems, and includes documents or illustrative explanations of other authors, finishing with a great bibliographic essay in the section 'for further reading'." - The Russian Review

"Paul Robert Magocsi, a well-known author of Ukrainian History and a self-identified Rusyn, authored With Their Backs to the Mountains not only to fill a lacuna in knowledge among specialists and genealogical researchers, but also to advocate for the distinctiveness (and, indeed, existence) of an ethno-national group still struggling for recognition at home and abroad.
The comprehensive book includes a wealth of illustrations, maps, and text capsules, which address thematic issues outside the immediate chronological narrative, and Magocsi's text is certain to become the definitve reference guide to the Carpatho-Rusyns." - Slavic and East European Journal

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