Let Our Fame Be Great by Oliver Bullough

I just finished my “detour” book (Let Our Fame Be Great by Oliver Bullough) a few minutes ago, and if I were a professional journalist or writer I would wait a little bit to talk about it. But I’m not, so I won’t. I probably should though; I still have a few tears in my eyes.

I’m a bit more prone to choose non-fiction over fiction; in novels, I often feel trapped or bullied by the voice of the author. That of course can happen with non-fiction, but it’s easier to ignore. Not a problem with this book – the author is someone I came to like and trust almost immediately. He tackled a huge, sometimes terrifyingly brutal topic and treated it with amazing sensitivity and openness.

I’m trying to stay away from writing standard-issue book reviews; the world is full of self-appointed experts and critics and it sometimes drives me crazy. Suffice it to say, I highly recommend this book. It’s not an easy read in an emotional sense, but the knowledge gained is well worth it.

Summer in Svanetia, Georgia. View of Caucasus Mountains.
(Image from Wikimedia Commons)

Detours make a journey interesting

A little background on what motivated yesterday’s post:

This detour was triggered by one of the books I picked for Georgia: Let Our Fame Be Great by Oliver Bullough. Not just about my chosen country, it’s a exploration of the history and modern-day struggles of different cultures in the Caucasus. One of the first groups mentioned in the book are the Circassians – a people with an amazing history, but who are now scattered in exile around the globe without a homeland to call their own.

As I approached this part of the world for the first time, I realized I knew almost nothing about it. AT ALL. So, I wanted to create some kind of framework for myself before reading about Georgia; I was concerned that otherwise, my introduction to one particular country would color everything that came after.

How do things fit together in the Caucasus?  Turns out that is a huge, complicated question – the region is truly one of the most culturally and linguistically diverse regions on the planet. And just look who their neighbors are…they certainly make life interesting, don’t they?

Ethnolinguistic Groups in the Caucasus Region
(Image by U.S. Central Intelligence Agency [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)