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Azerbaijan Diary: A Rogue Reporter's Adventures in an Oil-Rich, War-Torn, Post-Soviet Republic [Paperback]

Thomas Goltz
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
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From Library Journal

Azerbaijan is surely among the most complex of Soviet successor states, save Russia itself. Goltz enjoys the distinction of being probably the only Western correspondent whose personal courage and linguistic skill made possible this unique witness to the country's first years of independence. He takes us from his "illegal" entry during the last phase of Soviet rule through accession of former KGB chief and Azeri President Heydar Aliyev. As sheer adventure, the account stands by itself as compelling reading, but the scholarly minded will benefit as Goltz moves from the poverty of postindependence Baku through the chaotic war involving Armenia and the "Black Garden" of Nagorno-Karabakh. Excursions to Tashkent, Teheran, and Grozny add perspective with emerging Turkish-Iranian rivalry for influence. But the book's crowning feature is the author's interviews with the republic's three presidents and the reemergence of the opposition "Popular Front" against Aliyev. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.?Zachary T. Irwin, Pennsylvania State Univ. Erie
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Great Great July 7 2004
Format:Paperback
All I have to say is that he was in an overloaded helicopter escaping from a soon-to-be overrun village and they cleared a mountain pass by 5 feet. Insanely good book about the part of the world I'd most like to visit.
Plus, my professor met him in a bar in Tiflis.
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1.0 out of 5 stars For a good laugh June 25 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I don't know what I was thinking when I bought a history book written by a journalist, but I certainly got what I deserved.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazingly accurate book Feb. 4 2004
Format:Paperback
Finally, a writer who is not afraid to tell the truth. If you listen to all the pro-Armenian propoganda, you would think that all Azeris are monsters. The book does an excellent job in exposing the real truth behind the conflict. It shows you the real horror, aggression, unbelievable violence Azeris had to go through. The chapters brought me to tears and made me remember all the horrors I saw and experienced first hand. The images of little children lying lifeless, old people burned to death with fingers cut up are just some of the things I have to live with my whole life. Years have passed but I still haven't recovered from all the horror and cruelty I saw back when I was a child. If just one person can learn the real truth from reading this book, I'll know my struggles were not in vain. God bless the United States and God bless Azerbaijan. My heart goes out to all who suffered.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Big lies by Thomas Goltz Jan. 30 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
One question that I have to Thomas Goltz is how much money was he paid by Azeri propaganda machine?
I am a refugee from Karabakh, Shahumyan region, which was completely destroyed by Azeri army by fall 1992 just because It was populated by Armenians. More than 500 innocent people mostly elderly, who could not cross mountains to get refuge, were tortured and killed by Azeries. My own grandfather got killed by an artillery shell while digging potatoes in our back yard.
Mr. Goltz, every person deserves the right to live free and Armenians of Karabakh are no exception. They have the right to defend their land and freedom and what they did is no different from American Revolution against colonial England.
God Bless America, God Bless Armenia and INDEPENDENT Karabakh!
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1.0 out of 5 stars Completely one-sided/Lacking historical insight! Nov. 20 2003
By AH
Format:Paperback
This book is a completely bias/one-sided perception of the events in and around Nagorno-Karabagh. How can Karabagh be claimed by Azerbaijan when it contains CENTURIES old churches and artifacts Armenian in orgin present till TODAY! He neglects to mention the massacres of Sumgait, Baku, Shushi, Kirovabad, Maragha, and Stepanakert where hundreds of Armenian men, women, and children were beaten, raped, and burned alive. Goltz has even lobbied in Congress for Azerbaijan, opposing Section 907(1992) which "condemned the human rights violations by the Azeri's."
On November 20, 2003 (today) Goltz hosted a lecture at the University of CA in Irvine and was swarmed by questions after the lecture that exposed the contradictions in his book, the holes in his assertions, and his omissions of key historical insight. He was only able to dodge the questions before he left the lecture hall with an audience still present.
THOMAS GOLTZ IS AZERBAIJAN'S AND TURKEY'S POLITICAL PUPPET!
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3.0 out of 5 stars Eyewitness reporting of the post-Soviet aftermath Oct. 25 2003
Format:Hardcover
Thomas Goltz spent six years as a reporter in and around Azerbaijan, starting in 1991. He saw the collapse of the USSR and the start of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, and filed many war-zone reports. The result is fascinating, though a little uneven in places: Goltz is a fine war reporter, but not the best historiographer in the world.
Despite the title, the book is not quite a diary, although there is a good detail of day-to-day detail about life in Azerbaijan (he spent most of his time in Baku). The book's two main foci are the political history of Azerbaijan during this period, and the conflict with Armenia. The political history is done very well -- Goltz introduces a large cast, keeps them fairly distinct, and through his personal acquaintance with almost all of them brings them to life. It's clear that Goltz acquired a good deal of affection for the Azerbaijanis, and he is enraged by the corruption and indifference of many of the Azerbaijan political class. When, in the end, the old Soviet-era fox Heydar Aliyev wins power and actually gets the Caspian oil (and concomitant money) to flow via deals with international oil companies, Goltz is grudgingly respectful -- Aliyev may be lying about his democratic credentials, but he did achieve some benefit to Azerbaijan, which is more than most of his predecessors did.
As I said, Goltz is fond of the Azerbaijanis, and this does come through in his reporting of the war, which as a result feels a little less even-handed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Strangely enough, fair journalist from the West Sept. 20 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Although many "reviewers" here might disagree with me, but this is a pretty neutral, fair, clear and well-explained story about Azerbaijan's Independece. As it is seen, many reviewers of Armenian origin feel hatred towards everything connected to fair judging of Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. I would like to ask those reviwers to not mislead the content of the book. IT IS NOT ABOUT ARMENIAN GENOCIDE BY OTTOMANS. Proof your disagreemen by evidences...!!! Finish this disinformation. Let people at least see one fair book about Dagliq Qarabag in the West!!!
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Just for Those Interested in Azerbaijan!
While I agree with most of the other reviews (I would take the one that trashs his book with a grain of salt as my guess is that he is an Armenian/NK national that is offended by... Read more
Published on Aug. 14 2002 by C. Anderson
3.0 out of 5 stars adventures from the crumbing edges of the Soviet Empire
Gotlz was on the front line of a nasty little war that few in the West took much notice of. His time in Azerbaijan got him a front row seat to the crumbling edges of the Soviet... Read more
Published on May 5 2002 by Amazon Customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Azerbaijan Diary: Book of Myth
This book is an absolute myth; as in half-truth. It was written by a journalist who was paid off from organizations sponsoring anti-Armenian sentiment. ... Read more
Published on April 28 2002 by Vladimir
5.0 out of 5 stars Extremely useful
As a scholar, studying and teaching the history of military conflicts in the Caucasus, I found the book extremely useful. Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2002
2.0 out of 5 stars Truth according to Goltz
It is known that no war is just, for every party that is at war thinks that its truth is the only credible one. Read more
Published on Nov. 1 2001
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid and useful
Azerbaijan Diary details in microcosm the difficulties of building a functioning modern nation. The author was a reporter in Azerbaijan during its difficult first years of... Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2001 by Daniel H. Bigelow
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