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Balkan Ghosts: A Journey through History

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  • Posted December 29, 2010

    Great read for the pedestrian or the scholar

    Kaplan has become one of my favorite writers for his engrossing travelogues/histories/socio-political commentaries. This is the book that rocketed him to fame when Bill Clinton was seen carrying a copy while mulling over the decision of whether to involve the United States in Kosovo. This is probably not Kaplan's best, but its still worth a read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2001

    Decent treatment of the Balkans in early-1990s

    Perhaps I made the mistake of reading Kaplan's 'Eastward to Tartary' before 'Balkan Ghosts'. I think 'Eastward' is a far superior book. Otherwise, 'Balkan Ghosts' provides a great perspective on the situation in the Balkans in the early-1990's.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2000

    A guide for a traveller

    The best thing about the book is that if someone wanted to go to the balkans this would be a good book to read. It would help gain a basic understanding of the problems in that the balkans have. The most disappointing thing is that the book is a bit hard to follow. One paragraph discusses history and the next one a local that the author ran into.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2001

    An excellent introduction to Europe's forgotten little child

    Kaplan introduces us to the balkan peninsula with a good general overview of the region. But for a scholar or someone who is familiar with the region, the book wouldn't be much of a mindbender. However, some countries are very weel described (Romania and Greece), while others like Yugoslavia are barely mentioned. I still recommend this book for those who are just discovering this wonderful fraction of Europe.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2001

    Great book for beginners

    I first read this book a few years ago and frequently read parts of it over. It was a refreshing, engrossing story that encouraged me to pursue more information regarding the histories of these countries. Let's face it, this is not a researched historical volume, it is a travelogue/journalism/socio-political writing. But it serves as an excellent primer for individuals who are dabbling in history. It was enjoyable, thought-provoking, and at least in my case encouraged me to read more about Balkan and Middle Eastern history. His writing was fair and non-condemning and in my opinion, balanced.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2001

    Biased Tour de Force

    'Balkan Ghosts' is an impressionistic tour de force of the Balkan. It doesn't come near Rebecca West's masterpiece 'Black Lamb and Gray Falcon' - but it is a travelogue in the same tradition. The author, who is acquainted with certain parts of the Balkan, crosses these tortured lands just prior to the Yugoslav wars of secession. His prognoses are accurate, his depiction of ancient ethnic enmities sweeping, his pessimism justified in hindsight. But too many important aspects are neglected or papered over. The responsibility of the West, the interplay of big powers, the ineptitude of international organizations, the forces of democracy and ethnic reconciliation in the region, religious co-existence and much more besides. Though one sided and biased, it is a must read - if only to understand what influenced the American administration of Bill Clinton in the formulation of its Balkan policies. Sam Vaknin, author of 'After the Rain - How the West Lost the East'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2009

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    Posted December 1, 2008

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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    Posted August 18, 2010

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