The Balkans in World History

The Balkans in World History

3.57 (52 ratings by Goodreads)
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In the historical and literary imagination, the Balkans loom large as a somewhat frightening but ill-defined space. Most attempts at definition focus on geography (the actual mountain range that gives the area its name and the lands surrounding it) or, more recently, on the set of prejudices attached to the term by local and outside observers. There has been far less concern with attempting to define this space in positive terms, taking as a starting point not geography as such but rather the cultural, historical, and social threads that could allow us to see what might be merely contiguous places as a coherent, though complex, whole. The goal of this volume is to do precisely that. The Balkans should probably be defined as that borderland geographical space in which four of the world's greatest civilizations have overlapped in a sustained and meaningful way to produce a complex, dynamic, sometimes combustible, multi-layered local civilization. It is the space in which the cultures of ancient Greece and Rome, of Byzantium, of Ottoman Turkey, and of Roman Catholic Europe met, clashed and sometimes combined. The history of the Balkans can be seen as a history of creative borrowing by local people of the various civilizations that have nominally conquered the region. Each civilization has thus been hybridized, modified, and amplified by other voices and more

Product details

  • 12-17
  • Hardback | 176 pages
  • 156 x 238 x 16mm | 399.16g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 21 halftones and 6 maps
  • 0195158490
  • 9780195158496

About Andrew Wachtel

Andrew Baruch Wachtel is Bertha and Max Dressler Professor of the Humanities, Dean, The Graduate School, and Director, Roberta Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies, Northwestern more

Review quote

Wachtel's book not only dispels the myth of the Balkans as a land of violence and ancient hatreds, but also focuses on the gradual transformation of the region from a land in-between and borderland into contemporary Southeast Europe. * Slavic and Eastern European Journal * A remarkable concoction. In a seemingly impossible bit of synthesis...this slim masterpiece gracefully navigates potential nationalist objections with a slight of pen few could hope to accomplish...the author offers the targeted audience a first-class compliment to the world history textbooks taught in universities today. * Journal of World History * Wachtel has an eye for the telling artifact, poem, ritual, linguistic feature, and custom, not simply the seminal event. He also has a fine sense of how much of the story has to be left out if a tight, fluent narrative is to be maintained. * Foreign Affairs *show more

Table of contents


Rating details

52 ratings
3.57 out of 5 stars
5 10% (5)
4 50% (26)
3 31% (16)
2 8% (4)
1 2% (1)
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