Reading about the Baltics


Marek Grzegorczyk of recently posted a list of books for those who would like to learn more about the rich history and vibrant culture of the three Baltic states. Each book is available in English and offers a unique twist, ensuring an enriching experience for any reader, he writes. Although they are not new publications they are certainly not “old  news”.

These five books offer an array of perspectives on the history and culture of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Whether you’re interested in culinary traditions, comprehensive historical accounts, personal narratives, or scholarly analyses, these books will undoubtedly enrich your understanding of all three Baltic states, advises Grzegorczyk.

Author Michael North

For a comprehensive understanding of the Baltic region’s history, German historian Michael North’s The Baltic: A History is an indispensable read. This engaging narrative traces the historical development of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania from ancient times to the present day. North skillfully weaves together political, social, and cultural aspects, providing readers with a nuanced perspective. With its confident tone and meticulous research, this book serves as a captivating guide through the centuries of Baltic history.

The clandestine world of resistance is revealed in Juozas Lukša’s gripping memoir, Forest Brothers. Lukša recounts his experiences as a member of the anti-Soviet guerrilla movement in Lithuania after World War II. This personal account provides a rare glimpse into the bravery and sacrifices made by those who fought for freedom against overwhelming odds. Lukša’s vivid descriptions and unwavering tone make this book a compelling testament to the indomitable spirit of the Baltic people.

Nils Blomkvist’s groundbreaking academic work (priced accordingly, according to the reviewer), The Discovery of the Baltic, delves into the historical interactions between the Baltic region and the wider European world during the High Middle Ages. Through meticulous research and analysis, Blomkvist explores the cultural, religious, and economic exchanges that shaped the Baltic states’ development. This scholarly book offers a fresh perspective on the complex dynamics of the medieval Baltic, making it an essential read for history enthusiasts.

Ruta Sepetys’ powerful novel, Between Shades of Gray, offers a gripping account of the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states during World War II. Through the eyes of fifteen-year-old Lina, a talented artist, we witness the harrowing journey of Baltic families deported to Siberia. Sepetys’ vivid storytelling transports readers into the depths of despair and resilience, shedding light on a lesser-known chapter of history. This emotionally charged book is for anyone seeking a profound understanding of the Baltic states’ past.

Finally, embark on a culinary adventure with Baltic: New and Old Recipes from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, a delightful cookbook that captures the essence of Baltic cuisine. Simon Bajada showcases traditional recipes that have been passed down through generations. From hearty Estonian soups to Latvian smoked fish dishes and Lithuanian potato delicacies, each recipe is accompanied by vivid descriptions and mouthwatering photographs. Unfortunately this tempting book is not currently available online.