Manage episode 301650148 series 2796830
Few travel books have had as big a real-world impact as Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History by Robert Kaplan. Published in 1993, this account of Kaplan’s travels through Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Serbia in the late 1980s and 1990 purportedly influenced President Clinton’s policy in the region during the wars of Yugoslav dissolution. Kaplan’s portrayal of the relations among the peoples of former Yugoslavia created “the sense that nothing could be done by outsiders in a region so steeped in ancient hatreds” (Richard Holbrooke).
The ancient hatreds thesis, which holds that Yugoslavia disintegrated in war because its constituent peoples have always hated and killed each other, has become a trope of explaining the place. It has also been dismantled over and over by generations of scholars and policy wonks. Balkan Ghosts is one of those books you read so much about you might get a feeling you no longer need to read it because you already know it through and through from all the reviews and critiques.
What does Robert Kaplan think about the criticisms leveled at his famous book over the past nearly 30 years? About how his book has been utilized? Has he ever defended his work and what does he have to say? Does he care about the book’s impact? How have his views evolved?
With Robert D. Kaplan.
The Remembering Yugoslavia podcast explores the memory of a country that no longer exists. Created, produced, and hosted by Peter Korchnak. New episodes two to three times per month.
- Shownotes/transcript: RememberingYugoslavia.com/Podcast-Balkan-Ghosts/
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