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The Ghost of Freedom


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Table of Contents

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

About the Author

Charles King is Ion Ratiu Professor of Romanian Studies, Professor of International Affairs, and Professor of Government at Georgetown University. He is the author of The Black Sea: A History and The Moldovans, and his writing has appeared in The Times Literary Supplement and Foreign Affairs.


The Caucasus region, which now consists of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and parts of Russia, has a complex history, not least owing to its interactions with the surrounding nations of Europe and the Middle East and its tremendously diverse ethnic populations. One can be familiar with the history of Russia without really understanding the long and complex history of the Caucasus. King (Romanian studies, international affairs and government, Georgetown Univ.; The Black Sea: A History) unravels the region's history from the start of Russia's involvement in the region under Ivan the Terrible to the present. Recently, a few books have been published about the Caucasus (e.g., Nicholas Griffin's Caucasus: A Journey to the Land Between Christianity and Islam), 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. He briefly discusses the Armenian genocide, a label that Turkey has objected to, which has recently been discussed in the U.S. Congress. King mainly raises it so as to question whether it was indeed a genocide as we define that today. This book would be a wise pick for any scholarly institution.-Harry Willems, Park City P.L., KS Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

"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, "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

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