Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Crying Wolf

Yesterday evening I felt fairly accomplished ... I wrapped up reading a humongous paperback, Crying Wolf: The Return of War to Chechnya by Vanora Bennett. One I hate paperbacks, I'm much more of a fan of hardback and Two, to me 560 pages is a lot ... I like books I can finish in one week, 200-300 pages. Luckily this one was worth it.

Bennet's book on Chechnya uses her experience as a reporter in Moscow and Chechnya in the 1990's to help readers understand the background of the conflict. It has very little to say about actual battles. Instead it focuses on how Russians (in Moscow, Grozny and elsewhere) and Chechens experienced the war and the Russian politics of the time period. I learned a lot reading this book as she covers the intrigue between Yeltsin and his inner circle in great (but readable!) depth. Unlike some other books her book has at least the appearance of balance as she is quite critical at times of the Chechen resistance. She is definitely not fan of Dudayev, the first Chechen president. As a bonus the first couple hundred pages contain information on the post-Soviet situation in Georgia and Ingushetia. Bennet is great at describing people and the environment in which she met them. If one wants to learn the why about the Chechen Wars and likes reading about political personalities, especially the first war, this one's for you.

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