The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus / Edition 1

The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus / Edition 1

by Charles King
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Oxford University Press
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The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus / Edition 1

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195177756
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publication date: 02/11/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 320
Product dimensions: 6.34(w) x 9.44(h) x 1.06(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

On Words xiii

Chronology xvii

Maps xix

Introduction: Nature's Bulwark 3

1 Empires and Boundaries 20

Imperial Dreams 22

Kings and Khans 32

Life on the Line 39

"Ermolov Comes!" 45

Captives 53

2 Rule and Resistance 64

The Murid Way 67

Raiding and Retribution 73

The Imam and the Viceroy 77

"The Tribes that Remain" 92

3 The Imaginary Caucasus 99

Inventing the Highlander 100

Prisoners, Superfluous Men, and Mopingers 109

Convoy to Tiflis 119

"There Is Something to Be Gained on the Heights" 123

Eros and the Circassian 133

4 Nations and Revolutions 142

Bazaar and Boomtown 145

The Uses of War 153

Phantom Republics 161

Exiles 173

Cleansing 182

5 Time of Troubles 200

Brothers and Rivals 201

Land and Struggle 210

Whose Nations? Whose States? 220

The Tragic North 231

Conclusion: Continental Shift 243

Epilogue: Friends, Foes, and Patrons 251

Notes 263

On Sources 281

Index 289

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