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Analysis, book reviews and photography from Abkhazia and the wider Caucasus — updates when time permits

Book review: Georgisches Reisetagebuch by Jonathan Littell

Georgisches Reisetagebuch

Jonathan Littell
Translation: Hainer Kober

Berlin Verlag, Berlin
October 2008
56 pages
ISBN: 978-3-8270-0854-1

Georgisches Reisetagebuch is a translation into German and slight adaptation and extension of an article by the author Jonathan Littell, originally written in French for Le Monde 2 (the supplementary magazine now simply called M).

The book is Littell’s account of the situation on the ground in the immediate aftermath of the August 2008 war. Littell visits Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia and talks to various actors involved, tempering their conflicting views with valuable context and well-informed criticism (barring a single instance where Littell dismisses Eduard Kokoity’s Presidency as self-styled).

At 56 pages, and written soon after fighting had stopped, Georgisches Reisetagebuch cannot and does not intend to be a full account of the August 2008 war. Instead, it is exactly what it sets out to be, a very well written journalistic impression. Besides providing an accessible (and cheap, at €5,-) introduction to the conflict, it is most valuable for Littell’s first hand descriptions of prisoner exchange meetings and civilian suffering, in the form of ruined villages, burned corpses and a general feeling of insecurity.

Filed under: Abkhazia, Book reviews, Georgia, Russia, South Ossetia, , ,

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