Kaplan, a veteran reporter and travel writer, takes us on an eloquent journey into the heart of “history’s cauldron”. Travelling from Vienna to Istanbul in the late 1980’s, Kaplan sets the stage for the war that would erupt in 1999. He takes us into the hearts and minds of people immersed in hatred and racism, obsessed with ancient blood feuds, yet struggling to free themselves of their bloody history. An odyssey not soon to be forgotten.
Once again, I am backtracking a newly discovered author's works. Came into Kaplan's geopolitical analyses with "Monsoon", and have been reading his earlier works.
Kaplan was warning about the Balkans before the 'fall' of communism. Once the boot was off the collective neck, old grudges were repaid (several hundred years, in some cases),with an all bets are off return to nationalism , ethnic suppression, with a general overlay of anti-Semitism. But I read on, fascinated.
A lot of hate, on a state and personal level in this book. There are wonderful characters Kaplan meets, either through his travels, and the books he reads while travelling. He gets around by bus, train, and thumb. That is one of the appeals of his writing to me: journalist at heart, Kaplan has been on the ground in areas previously ignored by the West. He stays at sometimes ratty hotels, but gets the story.
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