Keith Hitchins's volume in the Oxford History of Modern Europe series provides a masterful account of Rumanian history from its gradual independence in the mid-19th century to the Soviet-directed takeover by the Communist Party after World War II. Drawing heavily upon a vast secondary-source literature, he walks the reader through the emergence and development of Rumania in a modern state. While his narrative encompasses the country's social and economic development, politics is Hitchins's main focus, particularly in his concentration on the political manifestation of Rumanian nationalism and on the debates over what sort of nation Rumania should become. Though some readers might find these passages tedious, they offer a fascinating glimpse of a newly founded nation coming to terms with its course in the modern era, a topic that offers broader insights into Western history during this period. This is essential reading for any student of Rumanian history, and one that will reward anyone seeking to learn about the pervasive impact of Western political trends outside of the standard Western European-centric focus.