Cossack Rebellions

Social Turmoil in the Sixteenth Century Ukraine

By Linda Gordon

Paperback : 9780873956536, 289 pages, June 1983
Hardcover : 9780873956543, 289 pages, June 1983

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The Ukrainian Cossacks were a complex and tenacious group, influential far beyond their numbers. This book offers an admiring, critical, and close examination of the unique cossack phenomenon. It reveals the sources of their surprising power by looking at them in action, in their sixteenth-century uprisings. The interpretation is organized around three themes, offering resolutions of three apparent contradictions in cossack activity: first, how the cossacks could act simultaneously as individualist mercenaries and yet also lead a collective, class-conscious social rebellion; second, how they could be simultaneously traditionalist and yet also provide leadership for the developing modern Ukrainian nationalism; and third, how the cossacks could be simultaneously unique, quintessentially Ukrainian, and yet form a part of a worldwide response to economic transformations that drew Eastern Europe into a position as exploited agricultural provider for Western Europe.

Linda Gordon is Professor of History at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.