Harry Willems

Library Journal Reviews
February 1, 2008

King, Charles. The Ghost of Freedom: A History of the Caucasus.

Oxford Univ. Feb. 2008. c.320p. photogs. maps. index. ISBN
978-0-19-517775-6 . $29.95. HIST

The Caucasus region, which now consists of Georgia, Armenia,
Azerbaijan, and parts of Russia, has a complex history, not least
owing to its interactions with the surrounding nations of Europe and
the Middle East and its tremendously diverse ethnic populations. One
can be familiar with the history of Russia without really understanding
the long and complex history of the Caucasus. King (Romanian studies,
international affairs and government, Georgetown Univ.; The Black
Sea: A History ) unravels the region's history from the start of
Russia's involvement in the region under Ivan the Terrible to the
present. Recently, a few books have been published about the Caucasus
(e.g., Nicholas Griffin's Caucasus: A Journey to the Land Between
Christianity and Islam ), but King's is the most comprehensive,
weaving in the history of all the events from the past two centuries
that shaped czarist, Soviet, and Russian relations with the region. He
briefly discusses the Armenian genocide, a label that Turkey has
objected to, which has recently been discussed in the U.S.

Congress. King mainly raises it so as to question whether it was
indeed a genocide as we define that today. This book would be a wise
pick for any scholarly institution.-Harry Willems, Park City P.L., KS