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Restless Valley: Revolution, Murder, and…

Restless Valley: Revolution, Murder, and Intrigue in the Heart of Central…

by Philip Shishkin

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In “Restless Valley: Revolution, Murder, and Intrigue in the Heart of Central Asia” (2013) Philip Shishkin describes some of the more recent developments, mostly in Kyrgyzstan, and a bit of Uzbekistan. Mr. Shishkin, who is of Russian descent and speaks the language, is an investigative journalist with an adventurous nature, who takes his fact gathering serious. So he went to Andijan immediately after the massacre in 2005, and to the border town of Kara Suu after it declared its independence. And he uses his very extensive network to talk to an enormous amount of people, from all sides of the various issues he discusses. He also presents a great deal of detail – perhaps a little too much, at times – about the way especially the Kyrgyzstan power brokers have operated before and after the various revolutions, and within the framework of American interest in the Manas airbase outside Bishkek: a truly incredible story that at the hands of Mr. Shishkin becomes perfectly credible. A great achievement, especially because despite the detail, and the occasional repetition, the book reads easily, providing a rare insight in the workings of this newly independent republic – probably not much different from many other dubious republics. ( )
  theonearmedcrab | Jan 13, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300184360, Hardcover)

It sounds like the stuff of a fiction thriller: two revolutions, a massacre of unarmed civilians, a civil war, a drug-smuggling highway, brazen corruption schemes, contract hits, and larger-than-life characters who may be villains . . . or heroes . . . or possibly both. Yet this book is not a work of fiction. It is instead a gripping, firsthand account of Central Asia’s unfolding history from 2005 to the present.

Philip Shishkin, a prize-winning journalist with extensive on-the-ground experience in the tumultuous region above Afghanistan’s northern border, focuses mainly on Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan. Both nations have struggled with the enormous challenges of post-Soviet independent statehood; both became entangled in America’s Afghan campaign when U.S. military bases were established within their borders. At the same time, the region was developing into a key smuggling hub for Afghanistan’s booming heroin trade. Through the eyes of local participants—the powerful and the powerless—Shishkin reconstructs how Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan have ricocheted between extreme repression and democratic strivings, how alliances with the United States and Russia have brought mixed blessings, and how Stalin’s legacy of ethnic gerrymandering incites conflict even now.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:59 -0400)

A reporter's vivid account of Central Asia's wild recent history--violent in the extreme and rife with characters both heroic and corrupt.

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