Dan's Reviews > Black Garden: Armenia and Azerbaijan Through Peace and War

Black Garden by Thomas de Waal
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it was amazing

This was a solid journalistic work on the Nagorno Karabakh War between Armenia and Azerbaijan. It did a good job of examining the factors that led to the conflict, specifically the breakdown in the paper-thin "Soviet Identity" that led to countless incidents of intercommunal violence following the breakup of the USSR. Prior to the war, Armenians and Azeris worked together, lived together in villages and intermarried, but that all went out the window fairly quickly once nationalist fervor was ignited and central control from Moscow broke down. The book was very unbiased to my sometimes irritiation, owing to my own personal prejudices and Armenian nationalism, and while Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh) is rightfully part of Armenia, it made me come to the harsh realization that we did some terrible things during the war too. Still, I think winning in the face of huge odds was important psychically for the Armenian people because it let us prove to ourselves and the world that we weren't victims anymore and the Armenian Nation would not be erased. The taking of Shushi by "Komandos," every bit a hero as Antranik, will echo throughout Armenian history. My feelings aside, this is a great book if you're interested in learning about one of the lesser known "frozen conflicts" in the former Soviet Union.
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Reading Progress

April 5, 2016 – Shelved
April 5, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
Started Reading
October 15, 2016 – Finished Reading

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