Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History ePUB Ö A

Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History ePUB Ö A

Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History [KINDLE] ✽ Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History Author Robert D. Kaplan – Larringtonlifecoaching.co.uk From the assassination that triggered World War I to the ethnic warfare in Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia, the Balkans have been the crucible of the twentieth century, the place where terrorism and genoc A Journey PDF/EPUB ✓ From the assassination that triggered World War I to the ethnic warfare in Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia, the Balkans have been the crucible of the twentieth century, the place where terrorism and genocide first became tools of policy Chosen as one of the Best books of the Year by The New York Times, and greeted with critical acclaim as the most insightful and timely work Balkan Ghosts: Kindle - on the Balkans to date The Boston Globe , Kaplan s prescient, enthralling, and often chilling political travelogue is already a modern classicThis new edition includes six opinion pieces written by Robert Kaplan about the Balkans between l andbeginning just after the implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords and ending after the conclusion of the Kosovo war, with the removal of Slobodan Milosevic from power.


10 thoughts on “Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History

  1. Murtaza Murtaza says:

    Someone once told me that this book was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s Being a Robert Kaplan apologist I always took this as a bit of colorful hyperbole After having finally read it however I can see why people feel this way Bill Clinton was famously seen holding a copy of Balkan Ghosts around the time he made his decision not to intervene in the wars The book was credited with influencing his thinking that U.S involvement wou Someone once told me that this book was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of people during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s Being a Robert Kaplan apologist I always took this as a bit of colorful hyperbole After having finally read it however I can see why people feel this way Bill Clinton was famously seen holding a copy of Balkan Ghosts around the time he made his decision not to intervene in the wars The book was credited with influencing his thinking that U.S involvement would be a mistake stricken as Yugoslavia was with ancient hatreds.Seeing what a relentlessly negative picture Kaplan paints of the Balkans I can see how it might psychologically influence someone to steer clear of it This is an ugly, insulting picture of the people of the region that continues to color the world s perception of Yugoslavia Needless to say, every place in the world has good and bad One could also travel across America focusing on its worst aspects and worst people and then write a book based on that It would be a misleading and potentially even dangerous thing to do however if you are an influential writer who commands the attention of the most powerful people in the world While Kaplan was actually a proponent of intervening in Yugoslavia on realist grounds, he should ve thoughtcarefully before publishing this horrifying travelogue Focusing purely on the negative is a choice and Kaplan s revolting descriptions of the places and people he sees evince a genuine revulsion for Yugoslavs and even the physical world that they inhabit In Balkan Ghosts, Kaplan is the demagogue he accuses them of being


  2. Hesper Hesper says:

    Calling this a travelogue doesn t excuse the abject ignorance that characterizes most of the book Period The fact that most positive responses seem to come from either people without first hand knowledge of the Balkans, or Greeks and Bulgarians Greece and Bulgaria being Kaplan s actual area of expertise is a significant detail, not to be ignored.There is little historical fact here, and what passes for research might as well have been churned out by a starving Hollywood writer Kaplan seems Calling this a travelogue doesn t excuse the abject ignorance that characterizes most of the book Period The fact that most positive responses seem to come from either people without first hand knowledge of the Balkans, or Greeks and Bulgarians Greece and Bulgaria being Kaplan s actual area of expertise is a significant detail, not to be ignored.There is little historical fact here, and what passes for research might as well have been churned out by a starving Hollywood writer Kaplan seems intent on perpetuating the most ridiculous stereotypes around, probably because they make better copy than reality


  3. Jeff Jeff says:

    First, the positives.The author was a very good writer and engaged in the subject He obviously cared a great deal for the subject, having traveled and lived there extensively for many years.Now, the negatives,Granted, the premise of the book was the role of history on the development of current Balkan mindset and culture However, while Kaplan was a good writer, this is where his background as a journalist really hurt the book instead of telling a good objective story, he looked for the flashy First, the positives.The author was a very good writer and engaged in the subject He obviously cared a great deal for the subject, having traveled and lived there extensively for many years.Now, the negatives,Granted, the premise of the book was the role of history on the development of current Balkan mindset and culture However, while Kaplan was a good writer, this is where his background as a journalist really hurt the book instead of telling a good objective story, he looked for the flashy story or headline thus every Serb, Croat, Bosnian et al is a hate filled peasant so caught up in the issues of the past that they can t function today Also it was somewhat offputting the way he described the local communities to hear him tell it, every Romanian is a sloppy falling down drunk as well as their grinding poverty.I d recommend it just in the sense that there is such little material out there about this region of the world


  4. Steven Godin Steven Godin says:

    I d been looking for a good book on Balkan history for quite some time, as it s subject that has always interested me, but one I knew little about, apart from the war in the 90 s A GR member recommended this book, and it turned out to be a fascinating read The American journalist RobertKaplan who lived in Athens for a while, and travelled regularly to countries like Bosnia, Croatia, Albania and Moldavia, writes passionately while exploring the exotic and mountainous Balkan peninsula This vivi I d been looking for a good book on Balkan history for quite some time, as it s subject that has always interested me, but one I knew little about, apart from the war in the 90 s A GR member recommended this book, and it turned out to be a fascinating read The American journalist RobertKaplan who lived in Athens for a while, and travelled regularly to countries like Bosnia, Croatia, Albania and Moldavia, writes passionately while exploring the exotic and mountainous Balkan peninsula This vividly documented travelogue mixes the details of his trip with an insightful account of the area s history Balkan Ghosts traces its way through the historically and geographically rich regions of Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia and Serbia and in doing so outlines how it was that Yugoslavia did not so much as deteriorate suddenly into internecine warfare, but gradually, step by step through the 1980 s He views Romania with it s anguished compromise with invaders, tarnished by years of Turkish rule, Communism, and Nazism, and of Gypsies, deeply woven into the fabric of this region He tours Transylvania, Bulgaria and Albania, and delves into the Serb Croat dispute, which he traces partly back to the fascists of WWII There is simpy a lot going here, with never a dull moment I have since been told that Rebecca West s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon is another really good book on the Balkans that is well worth reading So hopefully one day I will find out for myself


  5. Elizabeth Elizabeth says:

    There is very much an outsiders perspective in many ways on the cultural turmoil of the region, but the interviews he does with locals during his travels are really interesting If only the history pieces didn t seem to have some spin or editorial feel to them I think as I continue to read on the Balkans and former Yugoslavian region, I will work harder to find works from those native to the area.


  6. Rebecca Rebecca says:

    This is the most Orientalist, irresponsible and downright dangerous piece of writing about the Balkans ever published Kaplan sees the region as a nest of ancient ethnic hatreds responsible for all of the evils of the world, including Nazism Hitler learned hatred from the Balkan inhabitants of the flophouses of Vienna, not the thriving Western tradition of anti semitism apparently The Nazism of ethnic Germans living in Romania is excused, almost sympathized with, because they were forced to l This is the most Orientalist, irresponsible and downright dangerous piece of writing about the Balkans ever published Kaplan sees the region as a nest of ancient ethnic hatreds responsible for all of the evils of the world, including Nazism Hitler learned hatred from the Balkan inhabitants of the flophouses of Vienna, not the thriving Western tradition of anti semitism apparently The Nazism of ethnic Germans living in Romania is excused, almost sympathized with, because they were forced to live next to a barbaric people The inhabitants are all worn down by their centuries of ethnic hatreds except for the few standouts who are Westernized if the person in question is a woman, her degree of civilization is marked by wearing fashionable clothing and shaving her legs, because leg hair or lack thereof is a true sign of intelligence This book shows nothing of the region I love and that most of my family calls home Much brutality has happened there, the politics are fraught, our histories are held closer to the heart than in most other places, but there is also much beauty Kaplan ignores the beauty in the old Orthodox icons, the oral tradition of poetry, traditional music, the ingenuity borne out of poverty and focuses on his agenda which is to prove that the Balkans are the most brutal place on earth I mentioned at the beginning of the review that this book is dangerous and it is Beyond peddling tired stereotypes, this book and its description of ancient ethnic hatreds was used as justification in the 1990s to allow the Balkan Wars to continue instead of naming what was happening on Bosnia a genocide of innocent people The logic was that these people have always been killing each other, we might as well continue doing it.The sad thing is this book will be, for many, the introduction to the Balkans For many, it will be the only thing they ever know It will be something I have to argue against for the rest of my academic life I hope there is a day when it is consigned to the scrap pile of history


  7. Fiona Fiona says:

    I m glad I persevered with this The first part which is about Yugoslavia in the late 80s early 90s is very disjointed and quite difficult to follow in terms of linear events The second and third sections, about Romania and Bulgaria respectively, are excellent and really informative The Romanian section visits the country immediately post Revolution, 1989, and gives a lot of historical background to the different regions which was fascinating The Bulgarian section covers a period from the ear I m glad I persevered with this The first part which is about Yugoslavia in the late 80s early 90s is very disjointed and quite difficult to follow in terms of linear events The second and third sections, about Romania and Bulgaria respectively, are excellent and really informative The Romanian section visits the country immediately post Revolution, 1989, and gives a lot of historical background to the different regions which was fascinating The Bulgarian section covers a period from the early 80s into the 90s, as Kaplan made several trips there during that time A minor point but I found his statement that male affairs in Bulgaria fulfil a deeper need than Western middle class boredom difficult to swallow any excuse, eh but he clearly loves the country and has established important connections there The last section is largely about the politics and cultural ethos of Greece through the 1980s when Kaplan lived there He goes into quite a lot of detail but it was interesting as I now feel I haveunderstanding of how Greece has ended up in its current financial crisis It s only the most recent in a continuous pattern All in all, this is a very satisfying read and I m glad I persevered beyond the first section There is one glaring error which gave me pause for thought I had spotted this one but what if there were other inaccuracies or errors which I was accepting as fact Now I see that other reviewers have spotted some Twice it is stated that the Danube passes through 7 countries but it actually passes through 8 There is a footnote listing the countries and Croatia is omitted This is a fairly significant error in a book about the Balkans I ve checked if there were border changes since the 1980s which would explain this but there were not I was on a river cruise in 2012 which moored in Vukovar, otherwise I may not have spotted this error At the very least, it s shocking editing


  8. Mikey B. Mikey B. says:

    An interesting portrayal of this tortured area of the meeting place between Europe, Asia and Russia Even though it is now somewhat out of date it does provide insights of the developments of the 1980 s and early 1990 s.The general observations indicate backwardness and poverty in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and what use to be Yugoslavia These countries have a long way to go to catch up to Western Europe in their housing, transportation, and educational level Plus there are overwhelming regional An interesting portrayal of this tortured area of the meeting place between Europe, Asia and Russia Even though it is now somewhat out of date it does provide insights of the developments of the 1980 s and early 1990 s.The general observations indicate backwardness and poverty in Romania, Bulgaria, Greece and what use to be Yugoslavia These countries have a long way to go to catch up to Western Europe in their housing, transportation, and educational level Plus there are overwhelming regional hatreds and these have existed for centuries amongst Croats Serbians, Bulgarians, Romanians, Greeks and they all hate Turks Add to this volatile broth, religious divisions, and we have a primary example of what Samuel Huntington called a fault line Orthodox Christianity, Roman Catholicism and Islam There are many layers to all these regional animosities.Mr Kaplan discusses these in his book which is part travelogue and history I found the travelogue worked better than the history, which was meandering through different centuries and was confusing to follow One does come away with several variables language, religion, ethnicity, migrations and invaders that create a constant rivalry competing for ascendancy There is a constant sensibility to persecution in these countries.After twenty years of the dissolution of the communist bloc I don t know how much has improved His depiction of Greece as a Balkan country and not a European country was most interesting considering the current Euro fiscal crisis it is undergoing.A passage from page 70 Theobscure and unfathomable the hatred, and the smaller the national groups involved, the longer andcomplex the story seemed to grow


  9. Zuberino Zuberino says:

    This is such a dense, intense and wide ranging book that I fear unless I chop this review up into several pieces I won t be able to do it any justice Robert Kaplan was one of theprominent members of the neocon faction that pushed for the Iraq War in 2003, alongside such forgotten heroes as Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz Ah, Richard Perle no one knows him now but it was impossible to get on the internet in the early 2000s without bouncing across his florid face But I digress Kap This is such a dense, intense and wide ranging book that I fear unless I chop this review up into several pieces I won t be able to do it any justice Robert Kaplan was one of theprominent members of the neocon faction that pushed for the Iraq War in 2003, alongside such forgotten heroes as Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz Ah, Richard Perle no one knows him now but it was impossible to get on the internet in the early 2000s without bouncing across his florid face But I digress Kaplan was one of that bellicose crew, screaming for Saddam s head, and even though he is reported to have changed his mind about the war since then, as recently as 2014 he was penning learned screeds in the Atlantic mag in defence of the American empire, etc eye roll So much for the author s bona fides Before all of that Arab sabre rattling, however, Kaplan made his name in the early 1990s as an unusually fine reporter, making an especially big splash with this book Balkan Ghosts on a region that made no fucking sense to anyone in the rest of the world All we knew at that time was what Christian Amanpour was telling us all day long she adorned our TV screens from Toronto to Timbuktu, striding down some godforsaken shell scarred street in Tuzla or Bihac or Banja Luka, looking impeccable in her CNN funded flak jacket and intoning in that deliciously posh British Persian accent that no amount of money can buy.Why did that war happen Why was it as bloody and as protracted and as plain fucking puzzling as it was Turns out that if you had read this book at the time which plenty of policymakers in DC actually did the riddle might have proved to be just a little less insoluble Balkan Ghosts is divided into four main sections, dealing in turn with Yugoslavia and its components, Romania, Bulgaria and finally Greece By the second paragraph of the preface, Kaplan has set out his stall, signing himself up as a devotee at the temple of Rebecca West, and reasserting the claim that alongside Lawrence of Arabia s Seven Pillars of Wisdom , Dame West s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon constitutes the pinnacle of travel writing in the twentieth century I can certainly vouch for Lawrence, and it is merely the improbable length of Black Lamb my copy is literally the size of a brick that has prevented me from diving into it in the last few years For a solid primer, though, Balkan Ghosts is excellent Kaplan is very strong on the virulent strain of victimhood that turned the Serbians into such killing machines in the Bosnian wars But what did I, or anyone else, know of the fascist Croatian ustashe, who literally stabbed and clubbed to death a hundred thousand Serbs and Jews and Muslims at the Jasenovac concentration camp in WW2 Like a concertina, history folds up so tightly in the folds of those mountains that the humiliation of a defeat in battle six centuries ago can feel just as real today See Knez Lazar s coffin flowing through crowded Serbian streets in the late 1980s No doubt the Turks gave something to the region in their 500 year dominance but what exactly Kaplan quotes West The Turks ruined the Balkans, with a ruin so great that it has not yet been repaired When you think of all the remnants of the Ottoman empire that are still unsettled today be it in the Balkans or in the Middle East you have to wonder what the hell they actually left behind I tried to tie this together with Kaplan s later advocacy of war in Arabia, but the threads at least in this book are too weak Kaplan also makes a telling point about the Armenian genocide it was the Turks only way of gaining absolute numerical supremacy in central Anatolia, the Armenians being the only other competitors in that region But perhaps anyone who went into the accursed Balkan mountains was always on a hiding to nothing The Habsburgs realized this to their cost on Sarajevo s Appel Quay in June 1914 But just consider the countless nationalities Serb, Croat, Bosnian, Albanian, Macedonian, Montenegrin, plus Greek, Bulgar and Magyar and the religions Catholic, Orthodox, Muslim, Jewish and the competing empires Ottoman, Russian, Habsburg packed into this one tiny region, and one wonders how anyone could ever have been so foolhardy As Kaplan says in despair at the end of an especially fucked up chapter dealing with Gotse Deltchev Eric Ambler Judgment on Deltchev and Macedonian independence Theobscure and unfathomable the hatred, and the smaller the national groups involved, the longer andcomplex the story seemed to grow You kinda have to feel for the poor guy Next stop, Romania Update Now done with the book The chapters on Bulgaria and Greece were short and felt a bit bolted on to be honest, the former seen largely through the medium of a friendship struck up with Guillermo Angelov, a typically compromised journalist going to seed in 1980s Sofia Even today, Sofia is a pretty seedy place, so it s kind of hard to imagine that it was all that much worse back in the communist 80s Visiting this time last year, the place and its people felt muted and beaten down in a way that was rather hard to pinpoint But then, Kaplan quotes Nevill Forbes Of all the Balkan peoples, the Bulgarians were the most completely crushed and effaced The Turks again There followed wars of independence and of territorial irredentism, which only served to chop up Greater Bulgaria into tiny pieces that were then scattered to the seven winds, leaving behind what was and is in some senses a curtailed country, a resentful rump state that fell eagerly into alliances with the losing side in two world wars The most notable recent event in my mind is the expulsion of 300,000 Muslim Turks in the late 1980s for all its so called human rights implications, it s hard to fault the Bulgarians for this, especially given the ground realities of Europe today But even without that rationale, cast your mind back 200 or 300 years, as Penkov does in some of his short stories I think of those women of Bulgaria, the ancestors of today s dazzling long legged beauties, that lived in fear of kidnap, of becoming onetrophy in some pasha s harem Whom can you blame And for what Greece too is explored via the Byzantine politics of the 1980s, namely the bizarre career of Andreas Papandreou, the Harvard trained economist and Berkeley department head who turned into a classic Peron style, anti American demagogue Kaplan makes the assertion that Greece is in manyways a Balkan nation than it is a Western one, and one would say that the 21st century history of Greece, full of cheating and lying leading to economic depression and lunatic politics, has proved the writer abundantly right Kaplan does make some optimistic noises on the future of the Greek nation at the end of the book, but from the vantage point of 2017, I find it hard to share them history is a stone of terrible weight on the chest of any nation.Greece too overreached in the wake of the collapse of the Ottomans, sweeping deep into Anatolia, then being chased all the way by Ataturk back across Asia Minor and back into Europe I still have to read Panos Karnezis on this, although I did read Bruce Clark a few years ago Either way, that fatal error led to the extinguishing of 3000 years of Greek culture in Asia Minor, the first mass population transfer of the 20th century, like its first genocide, a gift of the Turks It s some comfort to know in this 70th year of Partition that Punjab and Bengal were not the only two places to experience such horrors there was previous So that nothing remains today of Greek Smyrna, nor indeed of Jewish Salonika If monoculture is the handmaiden of the nation state, it has been pursued with a unique ferocity in the Balkans Last stop remains Romania


  10. Erik Graff Erik Graff says:

    This is a rather lurid telling of the history of the Balkans by an author invested in the United States military establishment While it is well written, the perspective is fatalistic and pessimistic, particularly as regards the Yugoslavs In other books written since he became popular as a darling of the neocons, Kaplan endorses an amoral approach to foreign policy in the American interest I personally find this us them approach highly offensive yet representative of how US affairs are usually This is a rather lurid telling of the history of the Balkans by an author invested in the United States military establishment While it is well written, the perspective is fatalistic and pessimistic, particularly as regards the Yugoslavs In other books written since he became popular as a darling of the neocons, Kaplan endorses an amoral approach to foreign policy in the American interest I personally find this us them approach highly offensive yet representative of how US affairs are usually conducted.As regards Yugoslavia, there was no necessity to the violent breakup of the country in the early nineties by my reading of history It was people like Kaplan and his ilk, petty nationalists, who led it towards their own perceived benefits much like Yeltsin had done to the USSR for his own sake and that of the Russia he identified with I first saw this book at my former sister in law s home in Sawyer, Michigan and started reading it there before buying myself a copy


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