Five years have passed since ten countries from Central & Eastern Europe joined the European Union and twenty years since the Berlin Wall was torn down in 1989 - but ignorance about what is popularly still called Eastern Europe is as widespread as ever. Slovenia still gets mixed up with Slovakia, the Slavs remain a mystery in a Europe apparently dominated by Romanic and Germanic nations and a country like the Czech Republic is labelled as Eastern European, although one needs to travel west to get from Vienna to Prague. Leon Marc gives the reader the big picture of Eastern Europe - its political, economic, social and cultural history, the nature of changes there and of the issues at stake in the political and economic transition - while putting the fall of the Berlin Wall and the EU enlargement into a broader perspective of general European history. Three key strands of Eastern Europe -- Central Europe, Eastern Europe proper and Southeast Europe -- are identified and the Germanic, Byzantine and Ottoman influences on the region are examined. What's So Eastern About Eastern Europe? is written in an accessible, non-academic way, addressing the stereotypes about the region and their roots and explaining why the notion of Eastern Europe is now obsolete and misleading. It gives an Eastern European's perspective, and is informed by the author's own personal experience of the changes that brought the Wall down.

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