Robert Kaplan, an esteemed war correspondant, journeys through the Balkans. He voyaged through the region in the early 1980's before the collapse of communism and returned in the early 90's as the region restructured and Yugoslavia began to crumble into chaos, tyrrany and genocide.
Considering the wars, conflicts and ethnic hatred that characterize the region, this book could have easily taken a turn towards the depressing. However Kaplan talks fondly about the people he met in the region. While much of our attention is focused on the Middle East, the Balkans have great potential for both peace and conflict.
Tee N. reviewed Balkan Ghosts : A Journey Through History (Vintage Departures) on
Helpful Score: 1
This is an excellent book about the history of the Balkans and the current (as of late 80s) state of the Balkans. Lots of interesting stuff about a land that not many Americans know anything about. Kaplan has written many other good books including "Imperial Grunts" and "The Coming Anarchy".
The author, a correspondent covering Greece also reported on the wars in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Africa. His travels in the 1980's included Yugoslavia (as unified by Marshall Tito), Romania, and Bulgaria. While his observations of the former are especially significant given the collapse into civil war in the 1990s, I found his travels in Romania especially interesting.
He often quotes the famous writers/travelers to these regions in the early 20th C., John Reed, etc.
He notes Bulgaria was well positioned in the Warsaw Pact in that it had no occupying army from the USSR and had a 'big brother' to back it against Turkey.
A few footnotes, bibliography, and index.