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

Black Garden by Thomas de Waal
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The strength of the book lies in its assessment of how the conflict in Nagorno-Kharabagh has affected the social and political environment of the Caucasus. The problem lies in that this assessment is not fairly balanced to both sides of the question. In the prologue, De Waal states repeatedly that he is taking an unbiased, third-party approach to his assessment. Yet, I found a clear imbalance in the focus of most chapters, leaning towards the Azeri perspective. In describing the situation of both the Armenian and Azeri refugees after their exodus from Baku and Kharabagh, respectively, De Waal appeals to emotion in describing the Azeri settlements. The sources used and the structure of the chapters reflects that it was not necessarily objective, but served as a point of influence.

One of my favorite parts of the book was the use of human experience and narrative to describe the relations between the Azeri's and Armenians before the war and the sporadic inclusion post-war. The narrative that described the close relations that the two shared before the war and the longing for such after the war gave me hope that there will be an eventual agreement between the sides. The book shines a light on the heavy hand that the Soviet Union, and its eventual disenfranchisement, played in the conflict. The use of anecdotes adds more weight to the analysis.
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Reading Progress

March 24, 2013 – Shelved
April 7, 2013 – Started Reading
July 27, 2013 – Finished Reading

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