The Caucasus: An Introduction

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Oxford University Press, 2018 M12 3 - 312 pages
Fully revised and updated, Tom de Waal's The Caucasus is an essential and authoritative introduction to this complex region. Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and the breakaway territories that have tried to split away from these states constitute one of the most diverse and challenging regions on earth, impressing the visitor with their multi-layered history, ethnic complexity, and seemingly intractable conflicts. Over the last few years, the South Caucasus region has captured international attention again because of its role in disputes between the West and Russia, its unsolved conflicts, and its role as an energy transport corridor to Europe. De Waal begins with a historical overview and then shifts his attention to the contemporary era, particularly the roiling conflicts over Nagorny Karabakh, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia. He also analyzes the energy politics of the region, the 2008 "Five-Day War" between Georgia and Russia, and recent political changes in all three countries. In addition, the book features brief snapshots of fascinating side topics such as Georgian wine, Baku jazz, and how the coast of Abkhazia came to be known as the "Soviet Florida." Concise, stimulating, and rich in detail, The Caucasus is the perfect guide to this fascinating and misunderstood region.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - theonearmedcrab - LibraryThing

The more scholarly introduction to the area is aptly called “The Caucasus: an Introduction” (2019), written by Thomas de Waal. Unlike many introductions, this book is less than 300 pages thick, and ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - fist - LibraryThing

Excellent overview of the current political situation in the Caucasus proper (Armenia, Azerbaidzan and - especially - Georgia). Although the author stresses that there is no new "Great Game" going on ... Read full review


1 Among the Mountains
2 Russias South
3 The Soviet Caucasus
An Intimate Quarrel
Abkhazia and South Ossetia
6 Caspian Energy and Caucasian Corridors
Rebirth Rose Revolution and Conflict
A Modern Tour of the South Caucasus

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About the author (2018)

Thomas de Waal is a writer and scholar on the Caucasus, Eastern Europe and Black Sea and the author of four books on the region, including authoritative works on the Armenia-Azerbaijan and Chechnya conflicts. He is currently a Senior Fellow with the think-tank Carnegie Europe, based in London. De Waal has worked as a newspaper journalist in Moscow and a foreign policy analyst in Washington DC.

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