A Brief History of Ukraine: A Singular People within the Crucibles of Empires by Dominic Haynes

Nonfiction Book Review

Title: A Brief History of Ukraine: A Singular People within the Crucibles of Empires
Author:  Dominic Haynes
Publisher: Independent
Released: April 13, 2022
Pages: 172
ISBN: 979-8802067925
Stars: 4.5

A Brief History of Ukraine: A Singular People within the Crucibles of Empires by Dominic Haynes is an absorbing overview of a beleaguered country with an indomitable spirit that continues to fight for its freedom and independence from Russia.

Because I cannot stomach watching or listening to the news regularly, I learn about world events through books, documentaries, and online articles. Therefore, I wanted to read this 30,000-word book to try to understand more about how Ukraine has found itself in the position it’s in today. (Also, my childhood friend’s husband is of Ukrainian descent.) Haynes has crafted a well-written, informative brief history of Ukraine that helps us understand precisely what the country has been up against and what has led to the current war with Russia.

It begins with the roots and origins of ancient Ukraine from 30,000 BCE to 800s CE and takes us all the way up to the 21st century to 2022 CE.

The book has a few typos but is engaging and easy to read. However, I would have found it very helpful if the book had included a map of Ukraine, preferably one from ancient times and one from modern-day Ukraine, so I wouldn’t have to keep referring to the Internet on my phone while reading it to pinpoint where the areas referred to are located.

I looked up many leaders and empires discussed in this book, beginning with the Trypillya. I knew nothing about Ukraine other than what I experienced at a traditional Ukrainian wedding reception I attended in Toronto many years ago and saw in Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations when Tony travelled to Ukraine in 2011 with his friend and travel companion Zamir Gotta who had ancestors from Crimea. Ukraine appeared to be a beautiful country, “Europe’s breadbasket,” rich in fertile lands, abundant culture, and strong, passionate people.

I love archaeology programs, historical movies, and television series, including those about Goths and Vikings, so I knew a bit about some historical figures, like Atilla the Hun, Ghengis Khan, and Catherine the Great. But I have never read Herodotus.

The book helps put Crimea and Belarus and their influence on Ukraine into perspective. We understand that Ukraine has always been ruled by other countries, including Lithuania, Poland, and Russia. Despite this, Ukraine has its own unique culture and identity that it continues to fight to retain.

As with the evolution of any country, religion plays a pivotal role and unfailingly leads to conflict. While I believe in a Higher Power, I think that more harm than good has come from organized religion and would not be upset if Roman Catholicism and all its offshoots were abolished. I also believe in personal sovereignty and that the medieval practice of serfdom must be wholly eradicated in order for its enslaved people to be free to choose how they want to live. In light of the current war between Russia and Ukraine that some think may lead to World War III, it is evident that most of the world believes that freedom from tyranny is worth fighting for.

“Dominic Haynes has a degree in Social Sciences from the University of Manchester, and his years of study have fueled a passion for independent research. He has a deep interest in history, and his degree marked the beginning of a lifetime of extensive study.” I would not hesitate to read other books by Dominic Haynes as he has written a series of A Brief History of books, including America, Canada, England, Portugal, and China.

The Top Ten Things Writers of Nonfiction Should Know

Nonfiction Writing

Nonfiction writing is a challenging and rewarding endeavour that requires great skill and dedication. But whether you are writing a memoir, a history book, or a scientific study, there are certain things that all writers of nonfiction should know to produce high-quality, engaging, and informative work. From researching and organizing your material to using storytelling techniques and getting feedback, let’s explore the top ten things writers of nonfiction should know to excel in their craft. So, if you’re an aspiring or experienced nonfiction writer, keep reading to discover the essential knowledge and skills needed to take your writing to the next level.

  1. Research is essential: Whether you are writing a memoir, a history book, or a scientific study, research is necessary to make your work credible and informative. Therefore, using credible sources, such as primary sources, peer-reviewed journals, and reputable experts in your field, is essential.

  2. Be clear and concise: Nonfiction writing should be clear, concise, and easy to understand. Use simple language and avoid jargon unless it is necessary for the subject matter.

  3. Use storytelling techniques: Nonfiction writing can be dry and dull if it is only a list of facts and figures. To make your work more engaging, use storytelling techniques such as setting the scene, introducing characters, and using descriptive language.

  4. Use evidence to support your claims: It is important to use evidence to support your claims in nonfiction writing. This can include statistics, expert opinions, and case studies.

  5. Organize your material: Nonfiction writing should be well-organized and easy to follow. You will break up your text and make it easier to read by using headings, subheadings, and bullet points.

  6. Be honest and transparent: Nonfiction writing should be honest and transparent. Avoid exaggerating or misleading your readers, and be upfront about any biases or limitations in your research.

  7. Use a variety of sources: To ensure that your work is well-rounded and balanced, use various sources. This can include interviews, surveys, books, articles, and online resources.

  8. Write for your audience: Nonfiction writing should be tailored to your target audience. This means using language and examples that they will understand and relate to.

  9. Revise, revise, revise: Nonfiction writing requires a lot of revision. Make sure to read your work multiple times and make changes as needed.

  10. Get feedback: Nonfiction writing can benefit from input from others. Seek feedback from beta readers, writing groups, or writing coaches to get a fresh perspective on your work.

In conclusion, nonfiction writing is a complex and challenging task requiring much research, organization, and skill. By following these top ten things nonfiction writers should know, you can ensure that your work is credible, engaging, and well-written. Always be honest and transparent, use various sources, and revise your work multiple times to make it the best it can be. With hard work and dedication, you can write a nonfiction piece that readers will enjoy and value for years.

Meet Gary Benoit, Author of A Call for Service: Overcoming Adversity through Resilience

First-Time Authors

In his new memoir, A Call for Service: Overcoming Adversity through Resilience, former Edmonton police officer Gary Benoit shared his strategies for overcoming PTSD and Occupational Stress Injuries. He authored the book to provide all active and retired frontline personnel and their families with the tools and guidance needed to reduce stress, strengthen relationships, build resiliency, and achieve work-life balance. It will also give readers a foundation to improve their physical, emotional, and mental health.

I am proud to be the editor of this superb book produced by Publish and Promote!

Gary Benoit is also the co-founder of Benoit Wellness Consulting (BWC), an Edmonton-based social enterprise that launched the Front-Line Resiliency Project (FLRP) to support frontline families by improving their mental health and building resilience.

A CALL FOR SERVICE gives readers a unique view and subsequent insight into the lives of frontline workers.

Declining mental health is fast becoming one of the most debilitating concerns for society, and building and maintaining resilience is necessary for every human on the planet. But unfortunately, mental health concerns and PTSD or Occupational Stress Injuries continue to climb among frontline workers.

A Call for Service: Overcoming Adversity through Resilience provides actionable steps for developing resilience for those working the front line. It aims to assist readers with understanding that they are not alone in their struggles with mental health and that there is hope to heal. In addition, The Front-Line Resiliency Project helps to provide alternative ideas to those seeking a better life to live their desired life. Cultivating resilience is a daily practice; anyone can build and maintain it. By sharing his story and the situations he had to overcome, Gary Benoit hopes readers can draw similarities and take that first step on a journey of healing.


“First responders are faced with dramatic and emotional calls throughout their careers, which affect their mental health like no other in society. Often, we compartmentalize to try and cope with the effects. Gary provides deep personal insight into how devastating these calls affect your mind, body and spirit.

Any first responder reading his story will immediately recognize and reflect on their own personal demons in their career. Thankfully, Gary was able to overcome his own personal battles and provide reflection, self-awareness, and healing. A Call for Service will help you understand and acquire perspective to realize healing can occur and you’re not alone.”

Michael Elliott
President – Edmonton Police Association
Director – Canadian Police Association

A Call for Service is an exceptional book giving us a rare view and subsequent insight into the lives of all of our frontline workers. While clearly based on the trials and struggles from a police perspective, I can absolutely relate to the stories and struggles in this book as a Firefighter Paramedic. For the everyday person, it shows the concept of what it is like to put your life on the line every day you go to work and its real perspective. The humanity and empathy shown for people in all kinds of states is incredible. This book reminded me that we all have our own struggles and our own journey. It also gives options to start your own journey in building resiliency and overcoming any personal demons you may have. A great read!

Matthew Wood
Mindset coach/speaker


Meet Sean Robinson, Author of Going Dry: My Path to Overcoming Habitual Drinking

First-Time Authors

Last year, I had the pleasure of editing author Sean Robinson’s first book, Going Dry: My Path to Overcoming Habitual Drinking, for Publish and Promote.

Sean is a trailblazer when it comes to being vulnerable and authentic, as page one of his book is his personal journal entry—sharing the dark space he was in during the pandemic and realizing something had to give. So Sean decided to ‘go dry’ for thirty days, which has translated into years.

Despite growing up in a home where drinking was a normal part of life and being surrounded by constant social pressure to drink, Sean surprised himself and those around him.

Do you want to take a break from alcohol easily and safely? Reading Going Dry will inspire you and change the way you look at drinking.

When COVID-19 shut down Canada and countries worldwide, Sean Robinson experienced a dark year. His drinking habit was one constant he could continue in an otherwise pandemic-disrupted routine. But at the beginning of 2021, he decided to make a change.

In Going Dry: My Path to Overcoming Habitual Drinking, Sean tells his story of choosing, one day and one month at a time, to carve a new lifestyle for himself. Despite growing up in a home where drinking was a normal part of life and being surrounded by constant social pressure to drink, Sean surprised himself and those around him. His story provides inspiration and strategies for eliminating bad habits and replacing them with a more positive outlook and approach to life. Going Dry is a testament that anyone can change, and it’s worth the effort.

Praise for Going Dry:

“When I ordered and received this book, I couldn’t put it down. I’m not a drinker, but I could relate to all of it; we all have obstacles to hurdle.
I felt all his emotions and energy that this author put into words. His vulnerability of friendships, family, and the struggle he has gone through to find his inner self, but with such a positive outlook and determination. I have decided to take his challenge and apply it to my own struggles. I will keep the book close and highlight areas of encouragement for those moments of need.” ~ Dustin Wilson

“I loved the way Sean shared his story in such an honest way. He made his story so relatable for anyone who has tried to create new habits and struggled in the process. This book has inspired me to create healthier habits in my own life, and I think it will do the same for anyone who reads it!” ~ Allyson Tufts