Herein you will find a few but a growing number of book reviews of works by leading and pioneering scholars in the social sciences and humanities that are pushing intellectual and knowledge frontiers.

Further, as readers will quickly realize, these scholars deal with a wide variety of subjects and diverse issues in far-flung regions of the world which is a wealth of knowledge that has enriched, informed and influenced my own research interests and broad thematic approach to matters African.

Vouchsafing Grace of Military Pasts:


The four readings in this subsection: Aaslestad (2005), Cole (2007), Dabrowski (2004) and Koller (2008) are complementary in that they all deal with how past military experiences, glory or defeat served to shape states or people’s identities –those of nations or groups. Koller’s work stands slightly apart from the rest, however, in that it deals with how the defeat of Prussia (by Napoleon in 1806) and in the First World War formed a basic structural narrative of rebirth that shaped the political evolution of the German state. Put differently, it traces the nuances and cadences of this overarching narrative as a function of the memory of defeat through the pre-unification, German Empire, Weimar and National Socialist eras. For the most ... Read more...

Vanity and Vogue in Old Odessa:


Sylvester, Roshanna P. Tales of Old Odessa: Crime and Civility in a City of Thieves. DeKalb, 2005.

They had style, they had grace
gave good face
…. Ladies with an attitude
Fellows that were in the mood.
Don’t just stand there, let’s get to it
Strike a pose, there’s nothing to it.
Vogue by Material Girl (Madonna)
For years Odessa has been known under the name «Pearl by the Sea». The city was always famous for its uniqueness – first as the Southern gate to the Russian ... Read more...

Peripheral Urban Russocentrism:


Qualls, Karl D. From Ruins to Reconstruction: Urban Identity in Soviet Sevastopol after World War II (Ithaca, 2008).

This book by associate professor of Russian and Eastern European history (at Dickinson College)-Karl D. Qualls- is written with patient equanimity and impressive dexterity. It deals with what might be one of the most important issues of international concern outside the Middle East that is usually not in the public limelight. That is, the historical, if mythical, narrative of a Russian city in Ukraine –Sevastopol. Although the author does not elaborate much, mainly due to the fact that history does not predict events, Sevastopol’s urban ... Read more...

When Zagreb and Sarajevo Faced-off


Balić, Emily Greble. “When Croatia Needed Serbs: Nationalism and Genocide in Sarajevo, 1941-1942,” Slavic Review, 68:1 (Spring 2009): 116-138.


Balic’s article on local perceptions of or attitudes towards centrally driven agendas such as the construction of nations or nationalisms, in this case, the building of a pure Croat nation-state vis-à-vis Sarajevan sense of community and agenda, is promising. In this crisp article, she discusses how Zagreb’s radical right Ustasha Party conjured –in the opportunity afforded to craft a new European order by Nazi Germany during the Second World War- a nationalist agenda with the cleansing of ... Read more...

Spartak Football Club:


Edelman, Robert. “A Small Way of Say ‘No’: Moscow Working Men, Spartak Soccer, and the Communist Party, 1900-1945.” The American Historical Review, 107, 5(December 2002): 1441-1474.


I attended the game this Saturday as the WVU Mountaineers took on the Ohio State Buckeyes, and I left the Coliseum very excited about our win! However, I must say I was not excited about the inappropriate language coming out of our student fan section. Chanting obscenities that can be heard throughout the Coliseum and on national television does not reflect positively on ... Read more...