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this author is misinformed and carries around a lot of bitterness, Romania is not even a Balkan country

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TITLE: A reporter's glimpse at the past as reflected in the present times and events of the Balkans, April 25, 2006
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For someone who was born in one of the Balkan countries (Roumania) this book was
quite an eye-opener regarding my brith-country's whitewashed recent past history. Equally valuable was learning about the eclectic and diverse cultures and customs of Greece, Macedonia, Serbia & Montenegro, Croatia (old Yugoslavia) and Bulgaria. Seven of the 17 chapters are written on Roumania. Four on former Yugoslavia (and its republics), three on Bulgaria and three on Greece. This is a re-print of the 1993 and 1996 editions printed by Vintage.
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Robert D. Kaplan, who was a freelance writer for an American paper (at the time of his journeys across the Balkans), stationed in Athens, and married to a Greek woman, embarks on a trek to travel across the Balkans. This journey takes place right after the revolutions that precipitated Communism's "fall" in Eastern Europe. What I liked about Kaplan is that he has done his homework and read the major historical and travel accounts previously written by other travelers and national writers and well known personas. As such, in almost every country he finds the most historical hotels to lodge in, the most interesting regions to spend his time and the most interesting people to talk to.
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I would not recommend taking this book as a history book. While it is very good at presenting selected historical facts and little-known trivia (some are very ugly accounts of the past), Kaplan does a good job of encompassing in his writing and his experience talking with folks from this reason of Europe, the meaning of living in the Balkans and what it means to have a "balkanized" complexion.
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Enjoy this traveling memoirs and historical tidbits read!
 

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