School Library Journal - School Library JournalGr 9 Up-The geography and history of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia are presented with enough detail to give adequate background for understanding the current problems and issues that are discussed in chapters entitled "The Hard Road to Independence" and "Every Day Is a Struggle." The assertion that this region was kept in the Russian orbit in the 19th century by the doctrine of socialism, however, is puzzling in an otherwise solid history. There is also a somewhat uneven chapter on art and literature, which pays a good deal of attention to the alphabets used in these countries. However, it is not always clear. For example, the statement that "Written Azerbaijani traditionally used an Arabic script until the 1930s, but then the Soviet government forced a change to the Cyrillic" is misleading. Although the Cyrillic alphabet was adopted in 1939, the Arabic script, in fact, was abandoned in 1929 when the Azeris, like other speakers of Turkic languages, switched to the Latin script, which in the post-Soviet era is again the official alphabet. While surveys of the literature and architecture of the area may not have a great appeal to readers, the sidebar about the popularity of chess in Georgia and the world prominence of its women's chess team should attract interest. The black-and-white photographs tend to concentrate on leaders or offer rather desolate views of the countries with a few welcome exceptions.-Elizabeth Talbot, University of Illinois, Champaign Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
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