Elizabeth Gowing, “Travels in Blood and Honey: Becoming a Beekeeper in Kosovo” (
The hardest part of living in a foreign land is crossing that invisible divide between being an outsider and getting to know a country properly. An old foreign correspondent friend of mine said that the newspaper standard was that it… Read More
Timothy Snyder, “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin” (Basic Books, 2011)
Neville Chamberlain described Czechoslovakia as a far away land we know little about. He could have said it about any of the countries of east-central Europe. Yet, for the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany east-central Europe, was of prime importance… Read More
Richard C. Hall, “The Modern Balkans: A History” (Reaktion Books, 2011)
Some parts of the world seem to suffer from rather too much history. The Balkans, that mountainous peninsula situated between the Black Sea and the Adriatic, is most certainly one of them. Perhaps it’s because the Balkans stands on so… Read More
Matthew Kelly, “Finding Poland: From Tavistock to Hruzdowa and Back Again” (Jonathan Cape, 2010)
Very little illustrates history as well as the personal story. For all of the wars, deportations and suffering of the mid Twentieth Century, it’s only when there are real people that the figures come alive. Luckily there are some very… Read More
Michael A. Reynolds, “Shattering Empires: The Clash and Collapse of the Ottoman and Russian Empires, 1908-1918” (Cambridge UP, 2011)
Most of us live in a world of nations. If you were born and live in the Republic of X, then you probably speak X-ian, are a citizen of X, and would gladly fight and die for your X-ian brothers… Read More
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