Sitzmedia: A Great Book With A Huge Title

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been reading this book:

It was given to me (or maybe just loaned, I can’t remember) by my friend Julien Katchinoff when we were in Colorado for Pierogi Sunday. He and his wife Martha were the ones in Peace Corps Georgia, and he highly recommended me this book.
Well, he was right. It’s a great book. Robert D. Kaplan travels from Hungary to Turkmenistan via many other countries (most of which will cause you to continually flip back to the maps on the first few pages of the book). The book was written in 2000 about a trip he took in 1998, but it still seems current and exciting, somehow. The writing is vivid without being overly flowery, and the end result is that you find yourself beginning to care about countries like Bulgaria, which before would have barely caused a blip on your World Geography Radar.

Here’ a typical excerpt, from page 76:

“American and Russian values in Eastern Europe were still at war: the humanism demonstrated by a homeless shelter for an abused minority and a university to foster tolerance pitted against the absolutism and thuggery of criminal oligarchies. Bulgaria was a poignant, if obscure, battleground in this struggle.”

Maybe I’m just a geography nerd. After all, my students half-mocked, half-challenged me to name world capitals during English class (In hindsight, I’m starting to think that they didn’t really care if I knew the capital of Somalia, and I suspect they were just trying to distract me). But geography nerd or not, there’s surely something interesting in this book for anyone who’s interested in post-Communism world politics, travelogues, or just plain good writing.

And in an interesting twist, when I arrived to work today after reading my book in the back seat of my carpool, I looked up and what should I see but a Lada Niva, Soviet automotive engineering at it’s best! As I watched this rare Cold-War beauty chug and smoke off into the distance toward the freeway, I reluctantly closed my book, eager to begin another new chapter during my lunch break.

(Lada picture from Wikimedia Commons)

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Errand-Running Monkey at Sitzblog
Hey! I'm Ryan Sitzman, the person in charge of Sitzblog. If you want to know more about me, you can check out my profile on Google or go to my personal site, You can also click on any of the redundant little boxes to the left and it should take you to my profiles for all kinds of social networks. Thanks!

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