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The Balkans: From Constantinople to Communism Paperback – February 21, 2004

ISBN-13: 978-1403964175 ISBN-10: 1403964173

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The Balkans: From Constantinople to Communism + The Balkans Since 1453 + The Balkans: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (February 21, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1403964173
  • ISBN-13: 978-1403964175
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,483 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Hupchick (history, Wilkes Univ.; Conflict and Chaos in Eastern Europe) offers a comprehensive introductory survey of the history of the Balkans in its entirety. He follows the traditions of the great historians of the region, such as Charles and Barbara Jelavich (The Establishment of the Balkan National States) and fills the gap left by so many books from the past decade by offering a historically impartial overview of the region (not just of the former Yugoslavia but also of Greece, Albania, Romania, and Bulgaria). Moreover, Hupchick does not focus solely on nationalism, an interpretation that overwhelms present scholarship. He also outlines all the events that have profoundly shaped the Balkans, starting with the rise of Byzantium and ending with the fall of communism. Although this work will serve as a solid reference for specialists, it successfully targets nonspecialists and students wishing to acquaint themselves with the rich cultural traditions left by the three major civilizations that collided in this region: Islamic, Western Christian, and Eastern Orthodox. Recommended for all academic and large public libraries. Natasa Musa, New York
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"...a comprehensive introductory survey of the history of the Balkans in its entirety." -- Library Journal

He offers an introduction to an area whose history is little known to a general public...
-Choice

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A_2007_reader on August 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
No footnotes. This is the biggest drawback of the book, as you cannot check the veracity of the author, and have to take his word for it, when the author shows some bias (e.g., he has a slight bias towards the Bulgarians it seems, as he was a former Fulbright scholar in Bulgaria). For example, the story of Basil Bulgaroktonos blinding of the Bulgarians in 1014 is deemed fiction by modern scholarship, as the story was first published in the 1200s (when blinding was common, though the author does not mention this), but the lack of footnotes means the reader cannot check the primary source of this revisionist history.

The author writes decent but not great prose (compared to nonfiction by John McPhee or Bill Bryson for example, but that's a tall order).

The author's economics are laughable (as is common with historians), for example ascribing to dependency theory (that suppliers of raw materials get exploited by advanced countries--so how do you explain the success of Chile, which depends on the export of raw materials?), but that's a minor matter. A bigger problem is that the author is sometimes inconsistent, saying that the Great Powers cannot delineate the borders of Balkan countries, as nobody can, then later saying the Great Powers got it wrong in drawing the borders--so which is it? The author makes a strained comparison between the Ottoman system of administration and the European Union, but really does not explain this analogy well.

The book glosses over the 20th century, but given the vast scope of the subject matter, the entire Balkans, that's understandable.

All in all an OK introductory book to the Balkans, and given that so few books exist on this topic it deserves four stars.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an area of the world that's simply fascinating. Read Hupchick to find out more. His style is lucid and flows for a solid reading experience; he is knowledgeable and displays great depth of understanding for Balkan history and complexity.
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