It is less than a month ago that Den’s new book The Crown, or Heritage of the Rus’ Kingdom was launched, but a large part of the printed copies has already been sold. Readers willingly share their impressions of what they read, for it is often a positive shock and a desire to bring their discovery to as many people as possible.
“AN INTEGRATED PICTURE OF A POWERFUL STATE THAT NEEDS NOBODY TO PROVE ITS GLORY”
Olena TARANENKO, head, Journalism Department, Vasyl Stus Donetsk National University:
“I am reading the Den Library’s new book The Crown, or Heritage of the Rus’ Kingdom with great intellectual and patriotic pleasure. For me, its chief message is the ‘return of Rus’,’ the return of our history defamed and torn to shreds by Russian and Soviet ideologists, of our own Rus’-Ukraine which was once gifted so hastily and even joyfully, on a persistent demand of cynical ‘test tube theories,’ to those for whom ‘Rus’’ and ‘Russia’ are the same thing.
“I turn over page by page and see consonance with what I have been trying since 2011 to teach to student journalists at Vasyl Stus Donetsk National University as part of the course ‘Ethnological Problems in the Media’ which I shaped as master-degree discussion-based studies. In the now distant 2011, I conceived this course in Donetsk as, above all, an attempt to counter the journalists’ thoughtless and ignorant usage of such scholarly notions as mentality, national idea, ethnos, ethnocentrism, national character, and ethnogenesis, for it was not just a case of incredibly easy usage but a jugglery and speculation in favor of ‘Russian World’ ideas. At the time, this seemed topical, but today it is a harshly proved necessity for us to hold out and revive as a nation. We must learn a true history, rather than jump from ideologems to mythologems, and clarify, above all, an integrated chronology of the making of Rus’-Ukraine. And the Den’s Library has always been a helper here.
“Reading The Crown, or Heritage of the Rus’ Kingdom today makes it possible to answer the questions my students used to discover for themselves with utter surprise: ‘Which Rus’ did Volodymyr baptize?’, ‘Why did Karamzin have to invent in fact Kyivan and Muscovite Rus’?’, ‘What is Galician Rus’ and the Rus’ Kingdom?’, ‘Is Rurik’s genealogy as much a historical faction as is Monomakh’s hat?’, ‘What signs show that the Kyivan Rus’ and Cossack periods are stages of our own ethnic history?’, ‘When Soviet ideologists invented a mythical reunification of Ukraine with Russia, did they thus admit the existence of Ukraine-Rus’?’ Whenever a serious person reads, discusses, or thinks of Rus’, he or she separates it from Muscovy, Zalissia, the Horde, and Russia. This also makes it more interesting and necessary to learn the history of our neighbors Lithuania, Belarus, Moldova, Poland, Austria, and Hungary. And the features of our ‘golden age’ become more and more evident not in the arguments about when and where it was – in Kyivan Rus’, Galician Rus’ or Zaporozhian Sich – but in the continuous history of the Kingdom of Rus’, the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and the Hetman state. I am especially grateful to the book for this chronology because ‘blank spots,’ the suppression of and jumping in our history, coupled with pursuit for glory, is, in my view, one of the greatest woes, for it allows one to tear away from or squeeze into history whatever he or she chooses.
“Epoch-making historical figures, their grandiose plans, projects and their implementations, capitals and lands, shrines and monuments, wise books and laws – all this emerges in Den’s new book as an integrated picture of a powerful state that needs nobody to prove its glory, but it is absolutely necessary to study it in order to be worthy of it.”
“THIS BOOK IS STILL MORE SPECIAL, FOR IT IS NOT ONLY A SCHOLARLY TREATISE, BUT ALSO AN ADVENTURE STORY”
Myroslava LISHCHENKO, student, Lviv Polytechnic National University:
“When life goes by and you ‘run through it’ at a rapid pace, you sometimes would like to stop and look at the world not through your own prism but as if you don’t exist for a moment, as if you are just a spectator without your current world-view or thoughts – a stranger, so to speak. And it is books that allow you as best they can to move in your imagination to a different, sought-after, world. Suffice it just to choose the one that will pervade your heart and mind and carry you from your place to another dimension, still letting you think and feel. For me, such a book is The Crown, a new Den’s Library publication. The second part of the title, Heritage of the Rus’ Kingdom, seems to be drawing the curtain and saying: ‘It is here that the true history of Rus’ is gathered.’ I’d like to tell about the plot and a thousand lines that intertwine and stir up deep emotions, but this would not befit such a folio of our history. I must say this story is for me, a Ukrainian, like a cassette-recorded wedding waltz – you watch it thousands of times and come back again in spite of hard emotional flashbacks, in spite of the knowledge of each moment, in spite of an outdated song, and even in spite of the fact that it annoys you that the bride did not run up in time or the groom provocatively stepped on her dress. But it is something unforgettable and imprinted on our memory and recorded on the cassette, it is a certain moment in the life of the people who have seen it and felt themselves in different ways – sometimes in order to become aware of the value of their path. We watch (read) this video over and over again, notice some new views, details, and mistakes of the cameraman (historian), but still we admire, worry, get nervous, and love, for is it possible not to love what is yours?
“The Crown creates a sensation of things that are yours – old, forgotten, hidden, or new. But this book is still more special, for it is not only a scholarly treatise, but also an adventure story. For this reason, the events whose essence is well known to the general public and described in schoolbooks assume new colors, meanings, and inner sensations. An extremely informative content of the publication makes it clear that you are holding a book which you can trust as you would an encyclopedia and want to keep on the main shelf of your home library. A detailed description with quotations and digital indicators seems to be knocking on your brain with its importance and incredible richness, clamoring that it must be remembered and kept in your mind like the national anthem. Reading one chapter after another, you come to understand how meticulously the authors worked, searching for facts in all the possible sources. You are surprised in your mind and heart at how could all this be found and reach us – it’s a wonder! Apart from being filled with so much knowledge and all kinds of tales, the book shapes an incredible feeling of pride for your fatherland.
“The Crown is not just a model book, an ideal book, in terms of content or a superb formation of the text. For me personally, it is normative, historical, and cultural proof that will always testify to our value – our value in the past and the value we have created for the world by following various thorny and bloody paths. It is a very powerful ‘defense attorney’ for Ukraine at the World Trial. Even if you haven’t read the book to the end, you already love it, for it can raise your feelings and thoughts to the world level, really defend you and your judgments, and show you its gratitude for loving it by force of its power and an unshakable place among the others. Loads of thanks to the authors and the whole closely-knit team of those who took part in the creation of the text, for a text is the foundation and the meaning. This harbors the soul that will live eternally on the pages, waiting for new – conscientious and thinking – readers.”
“A VALUABLE BOOK FOR BOTH SCHOOLS AND UNIVERSITIES”
Tetiana VERGELES, editor-in-chief, IA ZIK, Lviv:
“I am reading The Crown, or Heritage of the Rus’ Kingdom, a new book of the Den’s Library series. It is particularly ‘tasty’ after fictional novels, where emotions, worries, personal dramas, and the characters’ inner world come to the fore. For, after all, you want to rush from the cramped room of self-torment to the fresh air outside, to the expanses of broader vision and sensations. The Crown is in fact this freedom, space, and fresh air. I read slowly and penetratingly.
“Ukraine and monarchy (albeit constitutional)? Is this possible? Fantastic, absurd, unreal. ‘We were never taught this.’ That’s the point. ‘If you studied the way you should…’ Who could possibly research and learn the heritage of the Ruthenian Kingdom in the Soviet era? Who could possibly allow Ukrainians to reach this kind of roots, this kind of essence? Now it is possible – if only there were a wish. If there is a wish, there will be knowledge; if there is knowledge, it will have an impact on present-day life. Larysa Ivshyna plants the noble idea into her ‘book business.’ ‘Today, the history stolen from Ukraine is pushing Russia to commit new crimes. I am never tired of repeating that the current war is not for a territory but for our place in history,’ she writes in the preface. We must also work for our children’s place in history.
“It pleases me that the book’s preface cites the ideas of Viacheslav Lypynsky, a largely understudied figure about whom you want to know everything, exhaustively, whose works you want to read ‘from A to Z,’ but you can’t find any. It is no accident that Tanya Maliarchuk titled her novel about him Zabuttia (Oblivion). ‘The history of the Ukrainian elite, the creators of real breakthroughs and successes, was and still remains to a large degree part of tattooed knowledge. Instead, we were being persuaded to study our failures,” Ms. Ivshyna says.
“Very much from the book has already sunk home and ‘cleared the brain.’ It is the stories about mutual support and assistance of two brothers, Princes Danylo and Vasylko (an exception in history, which should be a model in contrast to eternal hostility), about ‘the best men of ancient times’ (drawing historical parallels with the present-day Ukrainian oligarchy), about the three capitals of King Danylo, the destiny of Grand Princess Romanova, Mazepa as ‘architect of a European Ukraine,’ etc. Some points are disputable, e.g., ‘the Moldavian state was one of the descendants of the Rus’ Kingdom.’ Informative articles on contemporary European monarchies… Everything is streamlined and follows the intended line.
“One can disbelieve and doubt that the ‘royal heritage’ will somehow help us today. Yes, some people wish nothing would help those Ukrainians. But I think the books like The Crown are already serving a good cause – they explain that, from the historical angle, we are not ‘poorly-clad, barefooted, and a long way from home,’ they bring back the true essence of such thing as elite – the elite does not appear ‘from a test tube,’ for it is a people’s product. The point is not in estates and capitals but in an acute sensation of duty. An acute sensation of duty, rather than the royal crown in the literal meaning of the word, is the objective the extraordinary piece of political writing titled The Crown, or Heritage of the Rus’ Kingdom.”
P.S. “It is important that senior-grade school and university students read this kind of books. They ought to be part of recommended reading. The style of the research accounts is easy and attractive.”
“THE GEM AND PRIDE OF MY LIBRARY”
Lilia YURYK, doctor, Lutsk:
“I ordered this book as soon as I read Larysa Ivshyna’s Facebook post about the publication and the possibility to place an order. I’d long had a presentiment that a book like this is sure to appear. And here it is! I’ve ordered one book for myself and another for my friends.
“The book has surpassed my expectations. I thought it would be an excursus into history and a streamlined exposition of facts, but I got much more than this. It is a comparison of the past and the present, and reflections on which model of political system can be chosen. There are also the examples of other countries with an effective political system.
“The book has filled a tremendous number of gaps in knowledge and given an impetus to take a greater interest and to read more.
“A large team of specialists worked on the publication that was supposed to be a ‘lifting jack’ for societal thought, a book that will put history into the position of an active dialog with society. And they did it!
“Profound gratitude to the authors and all those who took part in the publication of The Crown.
“This book is the gem and pride of my library. I recommend it to all my relatives, friends, and colleagues.”
P.S. “I am very proud that our fellow countryperson Larysa Ivshyna is the author of the idea of the ‘Ukraine Incognita’ series and other books.”
For those who have not yet acquired their Crown or want to get an additional copy:
• “Ye” bookstore chain (ask in your city)
• “Knyholand” bookstore chain (Kharkiv)
• “Akademknyha” specialized bookstore (Kyiv, 42 Bohdana Khmelnytskoho St.)
• “Mohylianska Knyharnia” (Kyiv, 4 Kontraktova Sq.)
• “Naukova Dumka” (Kyiv, 4 Hrushevskoho St.)
• “Oriiska Yazychnytska Knyharnia” (Kyiv, Slavy Sq., Navigator shopping center)
• “Knyharnia-Kaviarnia” (Odesa, 77 Katerynynska St.)
• “Znannia” (Lutsk, 41 Voli Avenue)
• “Dim Knyhy” (Vinnytsia, 3/2 Internatsionalna St.)
• “Arka Knyharnia” (Ivano-Frankivsk, 3 Vichevyi Maidan)
• “Dim Knyhy” (Ternopil, 1 Yosypa Slipoho St.)
• “Globus” bookstore (Lviv, 12 Halytskoho Sq.)
• “Ukrainska Knyharnia” (Lviv, 8 Tarasa Shevchenka Avenue)
• Taras Shevchenko Scientific Society’s bookstore (Lviv, 21 Chuprynky St.)
• Bohdan-Ihor Antonych Bookstore (Lviv, 33 Stepana Bandery St.)
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The list is being continuously renewed. See Den’s website.
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Besides, books can be ordered at the editorial office:
Kyiv, 121d Peremohy Avenue, or on our website: https://day.kyiv.ua/uk/library/books/korona-abo-spadshchyna-korolivstva-...
Contact Valentyna Morozova, chief of the sales section.
Telephone: (044) 303-96-23.