A work on the history, society, and politics of the Black Sea necessarily crosses several boundaries: the disciplinary ones between history and the social sciences, and the regional ones between central and eastern Europe, the Russian empire/former Soviet Union, and the Ottoman empire/Turkey. The purpose of this section is to offer the reader a sense of the sources I have used in several of these fields and to provide a few signposts for anyone interested in journeying deeper into the Black Sea world. More detailed references, including those in languages other than English, can be found in the notes to each chapter.
Any book on seas, frontiers, and regions trails along behind two giants, Owen Lattimore and Fernand Braudel. Lattimore's Inner Asian Frontiers of China (New York, 1951) and Braudel's The Mediterranean and the Mediterranean World in the Age of Philip II (London, 1972) are fundamental works. An influential study that follows in (and responds to) the Lattimore tradition is William McNeill's book on southeastern Europe on the eve of modernity, Europe's Steppe Frontier, 1500-1800 (Chicago, 1964). On the meaning of regions, there is still no more thoughtful primer than Oscar Halecki's The Limits and Divisions of European History (London, 1950). On the mutability of regional labels in Europe, two excellent guides are Larry Wolff, Inventing Eastern Europe (Stanford, 1996) and Maria Todorova, Imagining the Balkans (Oxford, 1997).
The history of seas, although it does not yet have a name as a scholarly field (pelagic history? benthology?), is a boom area. Martin Lewis and Kären E. Wigen make the case for paying more attention to bodies of water in The Myth of Continents (Berkeley, 1997). Sea-centered works that I have found useful are, on the Mediterranean, Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell's The Corrupting Sea (Oxford, 2000); on the Indian Ocean, K. N. Chaudhuri's classic Trade and Civilisation in the Indian Ocean (Cambridge, 1985) and Richard Hall's brilliantly readable Empires of the Monsoon (London, 1996); on the Pacific, O. H. K. Spate's sweeping three-volume The Pacific Since Magellan (Minneapolis, 1979, 1983, 1988) and Walter A. McDougall's engaging but at times plain wacky Let the Sea Make a Noise (New York, 1993); and on the Atlantic, Barry Cunliffe's beautiful Facing the Ocean (Oxford, 2001).