Books: The Volatile Caucasus, Calmly and Carefully Assessed

4 10 2010

The snow-capped peaks that rise from Russia’s south and fall toward Turkey, Iran and the Black and Caspian Seas present barriers in almost every sense: to traffic, to trade, to development, to military action, to rapprochement and to smooth integration with the outside world. In the diversity of the mountains’ people and their pasts, with the deep wells of grievances and grudges that reach far back in time, stoked by the contest for resources and stature, they present barriers to understanding as well.

“The Caucasus: An Introduction” (Amazon) will likely have many lives. Why? The wars that broke out in the 1990s are not over. Mr. De Waal’s book is welcome now, and most useful. If one of the wars flares up again, it will be essential.

Read the rest at: NYTimes – C.J. CHIVERS – At War

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