A London-based American journalist travels to remote places, beginning in Kaliningrad and ending in Odessa, talking to people who have seen borders move, conquerors come and go, torments endure. On her journey to countries, regions, cities -- in areas no longer Polish, no longer belonging to the Soviet Union -- she evokes the distant pasts of worlds that most Westerners know little about. We learn of Germans who once moved east and after centuries were thrown back, of Poles, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Belarussians, and Jews. Observations and conversations are intermingled, the latter evoking historically embattled places and times. Travelogue and glimpses of a still-present past are cleverly combined.