Edge of Empires: A History of Georgia

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Reaktion Books, Feb 15, 2013 - History - 479 pages
Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, Georgia is a country of rainforests and swamps, snow and glaciers, and semi-arid plains. It has ski resorts and mineral springs, monuments and an oil pipeline. It also has one of the longest and most turbulent histories in the Christian or Near Eastern world, but no comprehensive, up-to-date account has been written about this little-known country—until now. Remedying this omission, Donald Rayfield accesses a mass of new material from recently opened archives to tell Georgia’s absorbing story.

Beginning with the first intimations of the existence of Georgians in ancient Anatolia and ending with the volatile presidency of Mikheil Saakashvili, Rayfield deals with the country’s internal politics and swings between disintegration and unity, and divulges Georgia’s complex struggles with the empires that have tried to control, fragment, or even destroy it. He describes the country’s conflicts with Xenophon’s Greeks, Arabs, invading Turks, the Crusades, Genghis Khan, the Persian Empire, the Russian Empire, and Soviet totalitarianism. A wide-ranging examination of this small but colorful country, its dramatic state-building, and its tragic political mistakes, Edge of Empires draws our eyes to this often overlooked nation.
 

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User Review  - kaiser_matias - LibraryThing

The first half of the book, going from ancient times until the Russian occupation at the start of the nineteenth century, is a real rough read, and the reason I took so long to finish the book ... Read full review

Contents

Introduction
7
1 The Emergence of the Kartvelians
11
2 The Origins of the Kingdom of Kartli
22
3 Conversion
38
4 The Arab Conquest
55
5 Unification
73
6 Davit the Builder
85
7 Demetre and Giorgi III
98
16 The Russian Conquest of KartliKakhetia
250
17 King Solomons End
265
18 Viceregency
284
19 Reaction and Revolution
306
20 Independence
323
21 Soviet Annexation
339
22 After Stalin
366
23 Independence Restored
381

8 Queen Tamar
107
9 Mongol Invasion
118
10 The Fractured State
132
11 Timur Lang and the Destruction of Georgia
147
12 Fratricide
164
13 King Teimuraz I
187
14 Teimuraz Dispossessed
207
15 The Eighteenth Century
222
References
402
Chronology
417
Maps and Dynastic Trees
426
Select Bibliography
444
Photo Acknowledgements
447
Index
449
Copyright

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About the author (2013)

Donald Rayfield is professor emeritus of Russian and Georgian in the Department of Russian, Queen Mary, University of London. Among his many books, he is the author of The Literature of Georgia: A History and Stalin and His Hangmen: The Tyrant and Those Who Killed for Him as well as editor-in-chief of the immense Comprehensive Georgian-English Dictionary.

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