Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy in Europe

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9780814705117: Modern Albania: From Dictatorship to Democracy in Europe
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In the early 1990s, Albania, Europe's most closed and repressive state, began a startling transition out of forty years of self-imposed Communist isolation. Previously, under strict dictatorial rule, Albanians were not allowed to practice religion, travel abroad, wear jeans, or read "decadent" Western literature. Newly embracing the free market and the possibilities of elected government, Albanians began to devour the outside world. They opened cafés, shops, and newspapers. Previously banned rock music blared in the streets. But the trouble was far from over for modern Albania; in the years that followed, the nation would be wracked with stolen elections, corruption scandals, violent protests, and the specter of an uncertain future.

Modern Albania offers a vivid history of the Albanian Communist regime's fall and the trials and tribulations that led the country to become the state it is today. The book provides an in-depth look at the Communists' last Politburo meetings and the first student revolts, the fall of the Stalinist regime, the outflows of refugees, the crash of the massive pyramid schemes, the war in neighboring Kosovo, and Albania's evolving relationship with the United States. Fred Abrahams weaves together personal experience from more than twenty years of work in Albania, interviews with key Albanians and foreigners who played a role in the country's politics--including former Politburo members, opposition leaders, intelligence agents, diplomats, and founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army--and a close examination of hundreds of previously secret government records from Albania and the United States. Documenting the nation's path from isolated dictatorship to a fledgling, pluralist democracy, Abrahams deftly explores how far Albania has come and how far it still has to go.

A rich, narratively-driven account, Modern Albania gives readers a front-row seat to the last battle of Cold War Europe.

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About the Author:

Fred C. Abrahams is a special advisor at Human Rights Watch and a writer who has worked for twenty years in areas marred by political crises and armed conflict, including the Balkans and Middle East.   modern-albania.com

Review:

"The canon on modern Albanian political history in English is small but Fred Abraham's book is now a large contribution to it. Excellent and above all readable and pacy, anyone interested in contemporary Albanian and Balkan history should be grateful that he has committed his deep knowledge about the country, and above all its travails in the 1990s, to paper."
--Tim Judah, author of Kosovo: War and Revenge

“A century ago, Edith Durham led readers on a trek through Europe’s most isolated country. Now, in Modern Albania, Fred Abrahams bears witness to the painful struggle of the same country’s people to overcome decades of Stalinist terror and to assume, for the first time, their rightful place in the European community.”
—Chuck Sudetic, author of Blood and Vengeance: One Family’s Story of the War in Bosnia

"Abrahams has been afforded the opportunity to ‘peer behind the curtain of a society that is for many outsiders opaque’. Yet it is his character portraits, which are reminiscent of both Ryszard Kapuscinski and John le Carré, which bring this richly woven work of narrative non-fiction to life."
— Will Nicoll, The Spectator

“Now, thanks to an assiduously researched, compulsively readable new book by Fred Abrahams, a researcher for Human Rights Watch who has been reporting on Albania and many other countries for more than 20 years, we have about as full an account as we can hope for. Abrahams speaks the language, has read the documents, witnessed many of the key episodes for himself, and interviewed almost every player of significance.”
— Andrew Gumbel, LA Review of Books

“In this intimate portrait of the country, [Abrahams] explains how the old regime—the last of the Eastern European communist regimes to fall—slowly crumbled and a democratic party, largely student-based, formed, faltered, and gave way to a transfigured communist party.”
— Prof. Robert Legvold, Foreign Affairs

“In Modern Albania, Fred Abrahams has managed to put Albania’s past, current, and future leaders under one roof and monitored their deeds for 25 years. In first-person narrative, Abrahams turns the tables from Big Brother watching you to us watching the Big Brothers.”
— Fron Nahzi, Huffington Post

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Book Description New York University Press, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the early 1990s, Albania, arguably Europe s most closed and repressive state, began a startling transition out of forty years of self-imposed Communist isolation. Albanians who were not allowed to practice religion, travel abroad, wear jeans, or read decadent Western literature began to devour the outside world. They opened cafes, companies, and newspapers. Previously banned rock music blared in the streets. Modern Albania offers a vivid history of the Albanian Communist regime s fall and the trials and tribulations that led the country to become the state it is today. The book provides an in-depth look at the Communists last Politburo meetings and the first student revolts, the fall of the Stalinist regime, the outflows of refugees, the crash of the massive pyramid-loan schemes, the war in neighboring Kosovo, and Albania s relationship with the United States. Fred Abrahams weaves together personal experience from more than twenty years of work in Albania, interviews with key Albanians and foreigners who played a role in the country s politics since 1990-including former Politburo members, opposition leaders, intelligence agents, diplomats, and founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army-and a close examination of hundreds of previously secret government records from Albania and the United States. A rich, narratively-driven account, Modern Albania gives readers a front-row seat to the dramatic events of the last battle of Cold War Europe. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780814705117

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Book Description New York University Press, United States, 2015. Hardback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. In the early 1990s, Albania, arguably Europe s most closed and repressive state, began a startling transition out of forty years of self-imposed Communist isolation. Albanians who were not allowed to practice religion, travel abroad, wear jeans, or read decadent Western literature began to devour the outside world. They opened cafes, companies, and newspapers. Previously banned rock music blared in the streets. Modern Albania offers a vivid history of the Albanian Communist regime s fall and the trials and tribulations that led the country to become the state it is today. The book provides an in-depth look at the Communists last Politburo meetings and the first student revolts, the fall of the Stalinist regime, the outflows of refugees, the crash of the massive pyramid-loan schemes, the war in neighboring Kosovo, and Albania s relationship with the United States. Fred Abrahams weaves together personal experience from more than twenty years of work in Albania, interviews with key Albanians and foreigners who played a role in the country s politics since 1990-including former Politburo members, opposition leaders, intelligence agents, diplomats, and founders of the Kosovo Liberation Army-and a close examination of hundreds of previously secret government records from Albania and the United States. A rich, narratively-driven account, Modern Albania gives readers a front-row seat to the dramatic events of the last battle of Cold War Europe. Seller Inventory # AAJ9780814705117

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