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Georgia Diary: A Chronicle of War and Political Chaos in the Post-Soviet Caucasus Hardcover – 15 Jul 2006


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Hardcover, 15 Jul 2006
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 9 reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
In This Case the Micro IS the Macro... 12 May 2009
By Richard Schaan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
For a few years, a friend of mine (who happens to be an old friend of the author) has been recommending this book (and the other two in the trilogy) and I've been meaning to read it, but I always set it aside for another time.

Another time finally came and I was blown away. Before reading it, I had no clue how important -- strategically maybe but symbolically definitely -- Georgia is in the geopolitical chess match. What I thought would be the story of a small nation turned out to be the story of all the world.

It's been less than a year since Russia and Georgia fought a brief war at the start of the Olympics, yet it seems like much longer because the news cycle rolled over and past Georgia long ago. The one question I had last summer, the one that CNN either could not or would not answer, was: What exactly are they fighting for?

After reading "Georgia Diary," I might forgive CNN because the situation is so complicated (but fascinating) that they would still be trying to explain it today. I highly recommend this book; you will not only learn the answer to the question, but you will also walk away with so much more.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
History and adventure 30 July 2008
By J. D. Hartzell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Knowing little about the country, I was looking for some background reading on a recent visit. This book served a both a great introduction to the country/region and was very entertaining. I found myself having a hard time putting it down. The history could be a little more developed but that may take away from its overall readability. I have already bought and recommened this book to others traveling to the area.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Generally poor read by a generally poor writer 2 Dec. 2009
By Big Daddy - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was obviously a side-project for Goltz who was much more interested in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict in Azerbaijan. His work "Azerbaijan Diary" was much better written and researched but was still a very biased view and Georgia Diary is a very incomplete picture of the conflicts in Post Soviet Georgia.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Average at best 6 Jan. 2013
By andrew - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Not written very well and for those familiar with Georgia there are some glaring inaccuracies that make me question some of the portrayals by Goltz in the book. Nonetheless an entertaining read that provides a good feel for life in Georgia at that time.
Skip it. 13 Dec. 2013
By Ahram al-Yardum - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Let's face it: Goltz can write newspaper copy but not books. Every single one has been a dud--lots of topical promise, no stylistic detonation; lots of bravery and unique access to very interesting places and people, but no delivery. Which is frustrating. If we believe the overly direct explanations, his experiences in the Caucasus meant very much to him, and yet he fails to create even one poignant moment out of them.

Instead, like the worst kind of self-aggrandizing hipster, he goes on and on about he was there before everyone else and witnessed the 'bad old days', and like a tabloid writer he sprints through the book without the levity and literary reflection which make Michael Herr or Anna Badkhen or even Hemingway exceptional writers about times of conflict. Goltz's characterizations are consummately unoriginal, the landscape is almost non-existent, and the smells and sounds of these places are put before you in high school short story-level declarative sentences. Nor is there any sense of history soaked into the text, just catty received opinions and ground-level siphoning. At best you will close the book with a drifting, incomplete sense of what life in Georgia was like at the time. I've never needed to put so much effort into mentally finishing an author's job that I did with this book.

Mr Goltz, should he ever write another book, would do better to either decide who his audience is and write directly to them, or admit he doesn't know who the audience is, and so approach the subject without insider references, journalistic cliches, and personal firewater that no one outside of his friends would be interested in. Even the fascinating mystery of the Freddy Woodruff's death is made flat, though somewhere in there you get the sense it really touched him.

The Caucasus very much needs English-language scholars, critics, advocates, and people like Goltz who are brave enough to do in and do the dirty work. But Thomas Goltz just as badly needs a ghostwriter.
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