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Highlanders: A Journey to the Caucasus in Quest of Memory

Karny, Yo'av

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ISBN 10: 0374226024 / ISBN 13: 9780374226022
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York, 2000
Condition: very good, very good
From Ground Zero Books, Ltd. (Silver Spring, MD, U.S.A.)

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436, illus., footnotes, bibliography and essay, index, front DJ flap price clipped, minor edge soiling. The story of the Caucasus region and the Chechen people is told by an intrepid and sophisticated Israeli journalist. Bookseller Inventory # 43147

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Highlanders: A Journey to the Caucasus in ...

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York

Publication Date: 2000

Book Condition: very good, very good

Edition: First? Edition. First? Printing.

About this title


A journalist visits one of the most dangerous and troubled regions on Earth--the Caucasus--to piece together the bloody conflicts that have torn this beautiful land apart since the dissolution of the Soviet Union. 10,000 first printing.


Yo'av Karny's remarkable memoir and historical study Highlanders opens with two telling, and subtle, epigrams. The first, by Lord Byron, states simply, "High Mountains are a feeling." The second, by the French historian Ernest Renan, rejoins, "It is good for everyone to know how to forget."

But in the high mountains of the Caucasus, where ethnic and religious divisions continue to atomize already tiny nations, forgetfulness is a rare thing. Instead, writes Israeli journalist Karny, the "highlanders" nurse memories of long-ago injuries and insults even as their cultures, sometimes numbering only a village's worth of inhabitants, are disappearing, swallowed up by time and the advance of more powerful ethnic and linguistic groups. Such powerful memories fuel conflicts that may at first glance seem nearly incomprehensible to outsiders--notably the long war in Chechnya, which has been raging for hundreds of years, even if it has only recently become a fixture of the news worldwide. Karny's explication of that war is essential for anyone with an interest in current events.

Some of the Caucasus's countries (notably Azerbaijan), Karny writes, show every promise of becoming rich and regionally influential; but most of the region seems condemned to endless bloodshed. It does not have to be so, he suggests, for "extraordinary diversity ... does not necessarily suggest hopeless division." Still, the "law of the mountains" seems to hold little room for clemency--or amnesia. Karny's revealing book tells why. --Gregory McNamee

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