Stories I Stole from Georgia

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Grove Press, 2002 - Travel - 277 pages
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After working for Time magazine in London, Wendell Steavenson spent two years in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Stories I Stole captures the exuberance of a fledgling nation of local despots, mountain tribes, blood feuds, and an unlimited flow of red wine. From President Shevardnadze's rigged elections to horse races high in the mountains; from the eerie roadside artifacts of the Soviet era to the farcical power outages in the dead of winter, here is Georgia: weird, invigorating, and still coming to grips with the legacy of its most famous son, Joseph Stalin.

Far more than a travel book, this is a scintillating menagerie of true stories peopled by vivid -- and sometimes insane -- characters. In the beach resort of Sukhumi, once the destination of every fashionable Russian but now wrecked by civil war, Wendell plays hangman with a secret policeman. In the capital, Tbilisi -- ensconced in Levan's Magic Room or lounging in the steam baths -- she hears about the latest duel or kidnapping. In Khevsureti, the meadows are dotted with blue-painted beehives and yellow flowers, while just over the border there is war in Chechnya. Stories I Stole is a candid, engaging, and quietly lyrical book about a land and its people.

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Stories I stole from Georgia

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Steavenson, a former journalist for Time magazine, left London to satisfy an inexplicable curiosity about Georgia by living in Tbilisi for two years. From that experience comes this captivating mix ... Read full review

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