@Read E-pub ⚟ Vagabond Life: The Caucasus Journals of George Kennan ⚢ eBook or Kindle ePUB free

@Read E-pub à Vagabond Life: The Caucasus Journals of George Kennan æ George Kennan was a pioneering explorer, writer, and lecturer on Russia in the nineteenth century, the author of classic works such as Tent Life in Siberia and Siberia and the Exile System, and great uncle of George Frost Kennan, the noted historian and diplomat of the Cold WarIn , Kennan became the first American to explore the highlands of Dagestan, a remote Muslim region of herders, silversmiths, carpet weavers, and other craftsmen southeast of Chechnya, only a decade after Russia violently absorbed the region into its empire He kept detailed journals of his adventures, which today form a small part of his voluminous archive in the Library of Congress Frith Maier has combined the diaries with selected letters and Kennan s published articles on the Caucasus to create a vivid narrative of his six month odysseyThe journals have been organized into three parts The first covers Kennan s journey to the Caucasus, a significant feat in itself The second chronicles his expedition across the main Caucasus Ridge with the Georgian nobleman Prince Jorjadze In the final part, Kennan circles back through the lands of Chechnya to slip once again into the Dagestan highlandsKennan s remarkable curiosity and perception come through in this lively and accessible narrative, as does his humor at the challenges of his travelsIn her introduction, Maier discusses Kennan s illustrious career and his reliability as an observer, while providing background on the Caucasus to help clarify Kennan s descriptions of daily life, religion, etiquette, customary law, and local government In an Afterword, she retraces Kennan s steps to find descendants of Prince Jorjadze and describes her work in coproducing, with filmmaker Christopher Allingham, a documentary inspired by Kennan s Caucasus journey This book is five stars for the compiling, editing, and first hand research done by the editor Frith Maier She should have won an award simply for that but this book was actually just her master s thesis It contains a ton of references, footnotes, historical background, and additional details The journal itself is, eh, not that informative The editor also includes some excerpts from Kennan s letters, speeches, and articles that are helpful I read a lot of travel works by Americans traveli This book is five stars for the compiling, editing, and first hand research done by the editor Frith Maier She should have won an award simply for that but this book was actually just her master s thesis It contains a ton of references, footnotes, historical background, and additional details The journal itself is, eh, not that informative The editor also includes some excerpts from Kennan s letters, speeches, and articles that are helpful I read a lot of travel works by Americans traveling in Eastern Europe and Central Asia during the mid 1800s which are found copyright free on Gutenberg and other resources The editors reference a few and I m eager to read the one by Arthur Cunynghame as well as those of British explorers This account is quite bland, it s simply shorthand journal entries with very few stories The stories that are there are interesting, however, and Kennan had a big influence on future Russian thinkers, including his distant relative George Frost Kennan, the diplomat I m very glad the editors took the time to piece together this for historical reference so that it would not be left to the dustbin at the Library of Congress.Kennan is the first American known to have traveled in Daghestan, in 1870 He was already publishing a book on his time spent in Siberia, and his travels and lectures from this trip would propel him into being the first American expert on Russia I lived for two years in an area just south of where Kennan traveled I lived with actual Lezgins, and while he writes about Lezgins it s not clear he traveled far enough south to actually encounter many Be that as it may, Kennan gives the reader exposure to several mountain cultures in the late 1800s, when Russian attempts as passification were really just beginning and the Georgian kingdom was in decline, having already capitulated its authority to the Russian state.Meier does a good job vetting the locations Kennan scrawls in his journal, traveling there with a translator and filmmaker Chris Allingham to retrace his path Their own journey shows up only in the foreword, afterword, and a few footnotes Meier has published a book on his own adventures hiking around Central Asia that I m sure is an interesting read Kennan spent some time in Scotland before traveling on to St Petersburg and downriver all the way to modern day Makhachkala He encounters a Georgian prince who was taking an account of the province and settling disputes in various villages, helping Kennan along almost as a guide From there he traverses to Tbilisi and then makes his way to Grozni Chechnya before making his way back across the Black Sea to modern day Istanbul The most amusing anecdote of the book, for me, came when he successfully orders a cup of Turkish coffee and throws the concoction out as if he d been duped into buying fake coffee I recommend this book if you re interested in the Caucasus, it s probably a must read There are very few glimpses into the old culture there recorded in English, and his account is worth checking out