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Chaos, Violence, Dynasty: Politics and Islam in Central Asia

In the post-Soviet era, democracy has made little progress in Central Asia. In Chaos, Violence, Dynasty, Eric McGlinchey presents a compelling comparative study of the divergent political courses taken by Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan in the wake of Soviet rule. McGlinchey examines economics, religion, political legacies, foreign investment, and the ethnicity of these countries to evaluate the relative success of political structures in each nation.

Performative Democracy

Performative Democracy explores a potential in political life that easily escapes theorists: the indigenously inspired enacting of democracy by citizens. Written by one who experienced an emerging public sphere within Communist Poland, the book seeks to identify the conditions for performativity-performing politics--in public life. It examines a broad spectrum of cultural, social, and political initiatives that facilitated the non-violent transformation of an autocratic environment into a democratic one.

The Oil and the Glory: The pursuite of Empire and Fortune on the Caspian Sea

Remote, forbidding, and volatile, the Caspian Sea long tantalized the world with its vast oil reserves. But outsiders, blocked by the closed Soviet system, couldn’t get to it. Then the Soviet Union collapsed, and a wholesale rush into the region erupted. Along with oilmen, representatives of the world’s leading nations flocked to the Caspian for a share of the thirty billion barrels of proven oil reserves at stake, and a tense geopolitical struggle began.

Putin's Labyrinth: Spies, Murder, and the Dark Heart of the New Russia

In Putin’s Labyrinth, acclaimed journalist Steve LeVine, who lived in and reported from the former Soviet Union for more than a decade, provides a gripping account of modern Russia. President Dmitri Medvedev and the country’s real power, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, are posing a resolute challenge to the West. In a penetrating narrative that recounts the lives and deaths of six Russians, LeVine portrays the growth of a “culture of death”—from targeted assassinations of the state’s enemies to the Kremlin’s indifference when innocent hostages are slaughtered.

Collapse of an Empire: Lessions for Modern Russia

The Soviet Union was an empire in many senses of the word—a vast mix of far-flung regions and accidental citizens by way of conquest or annexation. Typical of such empires, it was built on shaky foundations. That instability made its demise inevitable, asserts Yegor Gaidar, former prime minister of Russia and architect of the "shock therapy" economic reforms of the 1990s. Yet a growing desire to return to the glory days of empire is pushing today's Russia backward into many of the same traps that made the Soviet Union untenable.

The Coasts of Bohemia: A Czech History

In The Winter's Tale, Shakespeare gave the landlocked country of Bohemia a coastline--a famous and, to Czechs, typical example of foreigners' ignorance of the Czech homeland. Although the lands that were once the Kingdom of Bohemia lie at the heart of Europe, Czechs are usually encountered only in the margins of other people's stories. In The Coasts of Bohemia, Derek Sayer reverses this perspective. He presents a comprehensive and long-needed history of the Czech people that is also a remarkably original history of modern Europe, told from its uneasy center.

A History of Slovakia: The Struggle for Survival

This classic book offers the most comprehensive and up-to-date history of Slovakia, from its establishment on the Danubian Plain to the present.

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