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The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus

  • Paperback
Reveals the complex past and present of the mountainous Caucasus region at the intersection of Europe, Russia and the Middle East.
The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus
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Caucasus region at the intersection of Europe, Russia, and the Middle East.
Charles King is the Ion Ratiu Chair of Romanian Studies and Associate Professor in the School of Foreign Service and the Department of Government at Georgetown University.
Introduction ; 1. Empires and Boundaries ; 2. Rule and Resistance ; 3. The Imaginary Caucasus ; 4. Nations and Revolutions ; 5. Time of Troubles ; Epilogue: Continental Shift ; Bibliographic Essay
King picks and chooses events and themes seemingly designed to give proper depth to an understanding of the fiery, violent decade and a half since the collapse of the Soviet Union.-Foreign Affairs It is a bold historian who writes a history of the Caucasus... Some forty mutually unintelligible languages are spoken. Worse for anyone trying to present a coherent narrative, these disparate peoples have very different histories, and only two, the Georgians and Armenians (some would add the Azeris), have a history of statehood consistent enough to be retold as one would retell the history of a West European country.The different reactions of Caucasian nations to the conquests of the early nineteenth century - complicity and acceptance by the Georgians, relief by the Armenians and Ossetians, desperate surrender or flight by the Circassians, resistance to the death by Chechens and Dagestanis - are the best insight that King can offer into the diverse cultures that were incorporated into the Russian Empire or wiped out by it."- Donald Rayfield, The Times Literary Supplement Recently, a few books have been published about the Caucasus,... but King's is the most comprehensive, weaving in the history of all the events from the past two centuries that shaped czarist, Soviet, and Russian relations with the region.-Library Journal Charles King's Ghost of Freedom is a work that's gripping and important, scholarly and wonderfully readable. It not only explains and analyzes one of our world's most strategic regions but also delivers all the exotic and romantic turbulence of these flamboyant warriors and poets and the extraordinary peoples of the Caucasus."- Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Young Stalin
The Caucasus mountains rise at the intersection of Europe, Russia, and the Middle East. A land of astonishing natural beauty and a dizzying array of ancient cultures, the Caucasus for most of the twentieth century lay inside the Soviet Union, before movements of national liberation created newly independent countries and sparked the devastating war in Chechnya.Combining riveting storytelling with insightful analysis, The Ghost of
Freedom is the first general history of the modern Caucasus, stretching from the beginning of Russian imperial expansion up to the rise of new countries after the Soviet Union's collapse. In evocative and accessible prose, Charles King reveals how tsars, highlanders, revolutionaries, and adventurers have
contributed to the fascinating history of this borderland, providing an indispensable guide to the complicated histories, politics, and cultures of this intriguing frontier. Based on new research in multiple languages, the book shows how the struggle for freedom in the mountains, hills, and plains of the Caucasus has been a perennial theme over the last two hundred years--a struggle which has led to liberation as well as to new forms of captivity. The book sheds valuable light on the origins
of modern disputes, including the ongoing war in Chechnya, conflicts in Georgia and Azerbaijan, and debates over oil from the Caspian Sea and its impact on world markets.Ranging from the salons of Russian writers to the circus sideshows of America, from the offices of European
diplomats to the villages of Muslim mountaineers, The Ghost of Freedom paints a rich portrait of one of the world's most turbulent and least understood regions.
"In this first general history of the modern Caucasus to appear in the West...King sheds light on modern tribulations and disputes, including the ongoing war in Chechnya, the Georgian-South Ossetian and Georgian-Abkhazian conflics."--CHOICE
"It is a bold historian who writes a history of the Caucasus.... Some forty mutually unintelligible languages are spoken. Worse for anyone trying to present a coherent narrative, these disparate peoples have very different histories, and only two, the Georgians and Armenians (some would add the Azeris), have a history of statehood consistent enough to be retold as one would retell the history of a West European coutnry."--Donald Rayfield, The Times Literary
Supplement
"King picks and chooses events and themes seemingly designed to give proper depth to an understanding of the fiery, violent decade and a half since the collapse of the Soviet Union."--Foreign Affairs
"Recently, a few books have been published about the Caucasus...but King's is the most comprehensive, weaving in the history of all the events from the past two centuries that shaped czarist, Soviet, and Russian relations with the region."--Library Journal
"Charles King has produced a work that is at once informative, eclectic, and immensely satisfying."--Alex van Oss, Eurasianet.org
"Charles King's Ghost of Freedom is a work that's gripping and important, scholarly and wonderfully readable. It not only explains and analyzes one of our world's most strategic regions but also delivers all the exotic and romantic turbulence of these flamboyant warriors and poets and the extraordinary peoples of the Caucasus."-- Simon Sebag Montefiore, author of Young Stalin
"In a single volume, King manages to pull off the seemingly impossible task of presenting a portrait of the region as a whole, and one that is wonderfully written as it simultaneously informs, entertains, challenges, and stimulates."--Middle East Strategy at Harvard
"This vividly written and impressively researched history is an excellent introduction to a much discussed but little understood region."-- Anatol Lieven, King's College London
"The Ghost of Freedom is a brilliant tour through the past and present of a critical borderland between East and West. Enlivened by compelling anecdotes, colorful characters, and first-hand reportage that bring the Caucasus to life, this remarkable book is a highly original and beautifully written analysis of the forces that have shaped the region, from a whirlwind of imperial conquest and nation-building to Soviet engineering, mass deportations, and
the bitter consequences of imperial collapse: ethnic wars, banditry, refugees, and misrule. It is an indispensable guide to the Caucasus-- and to contemporary global affairs."-- Robert D. Crews, author of For Prophet and Tsar: Islam and Empire in Russia and Central Asia
"This is a rare work with something for all readers...King's ability to tease out the broader historical patterns in all their complexities and subtleties is remarkable. At the same time, he possesses the sort of keen eye for detail and telling stories that bring the region truly to life in all its vibrant color." --Europe: Early Modern and Modern
"King has produced a work that is remarkable for its breadth of coverage, the depth of the author's insights, and the eloquence of the text. It is hard to imagine how the goal King set himself could have been better achieved." --Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies
The first-ever general history in English of the Caucasus, one of the world's most volatile regions, home of Chechnya, Georgia, and Azerbaijan
Selling point: The first general history of the modern Caucasus
Selling point: Combines riveting storytelling with insightful analysis
Author
Charles King
Short Title
GHOST OF FREEDOM
Language
English
ISBN-10
0195392396
ISBN-13
9780195392395
Media
Book
Format
Paperback
Year
2009
Publication Date
2009-11-30
DEWEY
947.5
Pages
303
Illustrations
Yes
Imprint
Oxford University Press Inc
Subtitle
A History of the Caucasus
Place of Publication
New York
Country of Publication
United States
Residence
Mineola
Publisher
Oxford University Press, USA
Audience
Professional and Scholarly
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