Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Currently unavailable.
We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History Unknown Binding – 1993


See all 14 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"

Best Books of the Year
See the Best Books of 2014
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for 2014's Best Books of the Year in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
Currently unavailable. We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

"A Kim Jong-Il Production"
Paul Fischer offers a rare glimpse into a secretive world, illuminating a fascinating chapter of North Korea’s history. Learn more

Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Vintage/ Random; 1 edition (1993)
  • ASIN: B003TOPF5O
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,037,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

I recommend this book to anyone interested in a study of the Balkans.
john dromazos
I would like to thank Mr. Kaplan for doing such a GREAT work in presenting our history and our habits.
Nellie Stoeva
He interviewed people who commented on the leaders, but not the leaders themselves.
Harry Eagar

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 73 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
As a Romanian living in the USA, who has traveled extensively through Eastern Europe both before and after 1989, this book has left me perplexed. On one hand, it does a good job at depicting a complex situation with fractured societies trying to modernize and come to grips with their past deeds and misfortunes. On the other hand, Kaplan is much too frequently given to overdramatization. Local nuances escape him; for example, in Romanian 'drac' means as much trickster as it means devil. It is not necessarily a bad term. You can call someone a drac and this may mean you admire that person for being devious, while Kaplan would have this name conjure a mystical Dracula as a sign of the Other Europe which cannot ever be enlightened and saved from itself.
As such, for example, Ceausescu was as much admired as he was feared and hated; he tricked them (and us) all. In fact, I believe it's this multiplicity, which is a characteristic of the whole region, which puzzles Kaplan and which he never quite gets; after all this is South Eastern Europe, where Latins meet and mingle with Slavs, various breeds of Southerners and Levantines. You get treachery, you get backstabbing, you get shifting alliances, you get hot blood and high emotions, and also you get a (often times very black) dose of humor which somehow makes things very light. I believe this is the case with other leaders of the region, who managed to get to the top and stay there by a combination of cunning, deceit, ruthlessness, and other Byzantine skills, by taking advantage of a largely rural, unsophisticated, and especially careless population.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
69 of 78 people found the following review helpful By S. Miska on March 30, 2002
Format: Paperback
Kaplan weaves a masterful mix of travelogue, history and sociopolitical insight into a book about his journey through the Balkans, before Kosovo became headlines. He traveled throughout the region during the 80's and wrote stories of his adventures along the way. He uses the word idiosyncratic to describe his writing, given that his style mirrors past journalists/travelers who sought to understand the root causes of social and political behavior through the lens of history. Thus, expect a solid accounting of historical narrative for each country, coupled with a mix of contemporary thought largely begotten through his conversations with local politicians, journalists, and travelers.
Criticisms:
1) His approach is fairly egotistical since he believes that few Western reporters actually capture the complexity of the region, and none, except a rare few (of which he is one), ever understand the people or their real motivations. Although his assessment of Western reporters may have elements of truth, he seems to make the point numerous times throughout the book as if to create his own air of superiority.
2) Kaplan's assessment of Greece seems to carry the most weight since he lived there for seven years, whereas he sometimes only spends days in other regions. Nevertheless, he feels obliged to draw the same broad generalizations from those areas where he spoke to relatively few people, as he does from places where he met many people and spent much time. His underlying assumption throughout the book is that only a thorough understanding of history can engender a comprehension for the present state of affairs.
Read more ›
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
224 of 263 people found the following review helpful By Kelli on December 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
Robert Kaplan's "Balkan Ghosts" is a flawed book, but certainly worth reading in order to understand, if nothing else, the prevailing Western attitudes towards the Balkan region of Europe.
The books clear strength lies in the author's lucid, fluid and descriptive writing style - it truly makes the book, from the literary point of view, a joy to read. The reader is given a vivid picture of the Balkan lands Kaplan visits in a sort of `travelogue from hell' or `anti-travelogue' regarding places that most readers will not yet have visited. Added to this is a good deal of insight and reportage, interviews with locals, and so forth, that lend the book much readability and depth.
Unfortunately, however, the book is marred by the author's own Western prejudices and biases. What we have here is a critique, in many ways, of the `backwards East' and a not-so-subtle head-shaking that the region is not more `Western' in outlook.
The problems surface on two levels: First, Kaplan's descriptions of the local cultural life are off the mark, due in many cases to his lack of understanding of Orthodox Christianity. Many ignorant comments are notable regarding Orthodox religious art, piety, liturgical life, church organization, etc. Kaplan is right that the Orthodox tradition has had a profound influence on the region, but his conclusions as to the nature of this impact are nothing more than a perpetuation of the common and long-held Western stereotypes about the Eastern Orthodox part of Europe - in particular, the myth that Eastern Orthodox Christianity is a dangerous brew of mysticism, austerity and nationalism.
Read more ›
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?