Category Archives: History

Donald Rayfield – The Literature of Georgia: A History

The first comprehensive and objective history of the literature of Georgia, revealed to be unique among those of the former Byzantine and Russian empires, both in its quality and its 1500 years’ history. It is examined in the context of the extraordinarily diverse influences which affected it – from Greek and Persian to Russian and modern European literature, and the folklore of the Caucasus.

Rayfield, D. (2000). The Literature of Georgia: A History. Routledge, Revised edition.

See on books.google.com; Review (Kevin Tuite, Université de Montréal)

 

James Forsyth – The Caucasus: A History

For the first time, this major new survey of the Caucasus traces a unified narrative history of this complex and turbulent region at the borderlands of Europe, Asia and the Middle East, from prehistory to the present. For thousands of years the Caucasus has formed the intersection of routes of migration, invasion, trade and culture, and a geographical bridge between Europe and Asia, subject to recurring imperial invasion. Drawing on sources in English, Russian, Persian and Arabic, amongst others, this authoritative study centres on the region’s many indigenous peoples, including Abkhazians, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Chechens and Circassians, and their relations with outsiders who still play an important part in the life of the region today. The book presents a critical view of the historical role of Russian imperialism in events in the Caucasian countries, and the violent struggle of some of these peoples in their efforts to establish a precarious independence.

Forsyth, J. (2013). The Caucasus: A History. Cambridge University Press.

Available at Amazon; Review (D. Garrison Golubock, The Moscow Times)

Adrian Brisku – Bittersweet Europe: Albanian and Georgian Discourses on Europe, 1878-2008

From the late nineteenth century to the post-communist period, Albanian and Georgian political and intellectual elites have attributed hopes to “Europe,” yet have also exhibited ambivalent attitudes that do not appear likely to vanish any time soon. Albanians and Georgians have evoked, experienced, and continue to speak of “Europe” according to a tense triadic entity—geopolitics, progress, culture—which has generated aspirations as well as delusions towards it and themselves. This unique dichotomy weaves a nuanced, historical account of a changing Europe, continuously marred by uncertainties that greatly affect these countries’ domestic politics as well as foreign policy decisions. A systematic and rich account of how Albanians and Georgians view Europe, this book offers a fresh perspective on the vast East/West literature and, more broadly, on European intellectual, cultural, and political history.

Brisku, A. (2013). Bittersweet Europe: Albanian and Georgian Discourses on Europe, 1878-2008. Berghahn Books.

See on books.google.com; Review (Dustin Gilbreath, New Eastern Europe)

Thomas Goltz – Georgia Diary: A Chronicle of War and Political Chaos in the Post-Soviet Caucasus

The author of the acclaimed “Azerbaijan Diary and Chechnya Diary” now recounts his experiences in the strife-ridden Republic of Georgia. Soon after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Republic of Georgia fell prey to a series of power struggles, rampant crime and corruption, secessionist wars, and the spillover of the war in neighboring Chechenya. Journalist Goltz traces these developments with the same kind of vivid, personal narrative that made his previous books so compelling. This fast-paced, first-person account is filled with fascinating details about the ongoing struggles of this little-known region of the former Soviet Union. Featuring memorable portraits of individuals in high places and low, it traces the story from 1992 through the “Rose Revolution,” the resignation of Eduard Shevardnadze, and the new presidency of U.S.-educated Mikhail Saakashvili.

Goltz, T. (2014). Georgia Diary: A Chronicle of War and Political Chaos in the Post-Soviet Caucasus. Routledge, Expanded Edition.

See on books.google.com; Review (Robyn Angley, Perspective)

Charles King – The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus

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.

King, C. (2008). The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus. Oxford University Press.

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