Book Reviews

Book Reviews

The Cosmopolitan Businessman: World and Worldview of Greek Merchant-Entrepreneurs

“Prof. Ariadni Moutafidou, a renowned historian and expert in the field of Modern Greek socio-economic history, explores in her innovative superb and sophisticated book on the Greek ‘big’ merchant-entrepreneurs, not only their mercantile operations, but mainly their thoughts, views, ideas, notions and beliefs within their own and the ‘outer’ world. Her broadened research encompasses the remarkable rise of Greek long-distance trade and shipping in the Mediterranean followed by their significant entrance into the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans during their golden era from the mid-eighteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century. Based on various rare autobiographical accounts, ego documents and commercial guidebooks as well as complementary archival documents and oral history preserved in second and third generation family accounts, the author firstly outlines the commercial culture of these businessmen. Ariadni Moutafidou then argues that the Greek merchant-entrepreneurs’ world and operations with extended international, economic and socio-economic networks, serve not only as a paradigm, but also constitute an integral, constitutive part of the merchant-entrepreneurs’ cosmopolitan world within the broader European-Mediterranean milieu during the nineteenth century. The Cosmopolitan Businessman broadened the research on the economic, social and cultural worldview of merchant-entrepreneurs, as well as on the interrelations between the ethnic mercantile communities. This rich, in-depth oeuvre offers a welcome challenge and contribution to the cultural, social and economic history of trading Diasporas including the interaction between them and their Jewish counterparts as described by the Greek merchants. Therefore, I strongly recommend publication of the manuscript.”
Orly C. Meron, Associate Professor, Former Head of the Interdisciplinary Department of Social Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Israel;  Author of Jewish Entrepreneurship in Salonica, 1912-1940: An Ethnic Economy in Transition, Sussex Academic Press, 2011/2013

“I have been acquainted with Dr. Ariadni Moutafidou’s research for many years and am delighted to recommend her book for publication. Dr. Moutafidou is a highly regarded historian whose research presents a fine combination of substantial use of archival material and behavioral theories and models. Her articles have been published in respected journals and in collected volumes. The present book is an original investigation of the social and cultural world of Greek big merchant-entrepreneurs of the nineteenth century. It is the product of an exhaustive and wide-ranging research, based on an impressive collection of primary sources, autobiographical accounts of businessmen, personal papers and commercial reports and other relevant archival documents. This group of businessmen had a great impact in various areas on the development of Greek economy and society. The results of their activities were felt in many important urban centers in the Near and Middle East. This research is a significant contribution to Greek economic history in particular and to nineteenth century history of entrepreneurship in general. It will constitute an important source of documentation for historians in this field as well as for economists specializing in international trade and business networks. On these grounds, I warmly recommend the publication of this excellent manuscript.”
Prof. Jeannine Horowitz, Head Program of Hellenic Studies, University of Haifa

“I have known Dr. Ariadni Moutafidou for almost two decades and held her and her historical research in great esteem. I have read the manuscript of her latest work, The Cosmopolitan Businessman, with interest and I think it is minutely researched, carefully argued, and elegantly presented. It brings to life the complex world of Greek merchant entrepreneurs in the nineteenth century, seen in the broader context of historical developments in the Near and Middle East. It will definitely be of interest to specialists in the field but its informative and narrative virtues will also be appreciated by any reader with broader historical interests. I therefore have no hesitation in recommending its publication.”
Pantelis Lekkas BA (Sussex) PhD (Cantab), Professor of Political Sociology, Faculty of Political Science & Public Administration, University of Athens, Greece

“Building upon a profound historical knowledge, from which my own studies on European Philhellenism have very much profited, Moutafidou’s scholarship embarks on new explorations of the factors shaping the physiognomy of the 19th century Mediterranean world. The cosmopolitan Businessman offers a vivid account of and an erudite study on the trajectories of entrepreneurial action in intercultural spirit. The book maps persuasively the contribution of Greek merchants to the formation of the First Globalisation. An indispensable reading.”
Dr. Dr. Konstadinos Maras, Research Fellow Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI), Essen University of Duisburg-Essen

“This original study opens new avenues to our understanding of the social and cultural world of Greek entrepreneurs of the modern era. It offers fascinating insights into the ideas and concepts of rising entrepreneurs in a traditional economy that has undergone processes of modernization. Historians of Greek economic and social history as well as economists specializing in international trade and business networks will certainly be delighted to read this book.”
Prof. Gad Gilbar, University of Haifa

Nationalism: Past as Prologue

“No-one writes, or thinks, with the same passion, fearlessness and accessibility as Bruce Johansen and Ad Akande, figures who have been speaking truth to power on global environmental and indigenous issues for over forty years. You’re going to scream at this work that nationalism is not all bad, but you’ll also learn much more than you ever expected and finish it determined to make changes and learn more. Enjoy!”
Professor Joy Porter, PI Treatiedspaces.com, Leverhulme Major Research Fellow, Professor of Indigenous History, United Kingdom;
Editor of the Cambridge University Press Series, Elements in Indigenous Environmental Research

Genocide and Geopolitics of the Rohingya Crisis

“In his book, Genocide and Geopolitics of the Rohingya Crisis, the scholar General Aminul Karim uncovers the broader canvas of the topic, painstakingly consulting the plethora of existing literature, interviewing various experts, and offering his own analysis and conclusions. General Karim begins with a background of the Rohingyas in Arakan and of modern Burma including its various insurgencies. He then moves on to the strategic importance of the area. Being resource rich, the oil and gas fields are controlled by an enterprise, in which the senior military officers who run the country have economic interests. Major world powers and big corporations have their eyes on these resources. Added to this is the location along the Bay of Bengal, which is vital for Chinese access to the Indian Ocean. Removing Rohingyas strengthens the control of these forces on the area and consequently, upon the resources. Examining the legal issues in subsequent chapters, the author concludes that the Myanmar regime is certainly guilty of committing genocide, but because Myanmar is not a member of ICC and because implementation of the ICJ decision depends largely on the UNSC, punishment of the perpetrators cannot be guaranteed. Chapters 11 and 12 enter into the main theme of the book—geopolitics, and the possibility of a local Muslim insurgency…In his concluding chapters, through interviews, the author suggests some solutions. Sadiqul Islam of Laurentian University, Canada, considers the expulsion of the Rohingyas into Bangladesh an act of war. Professor Delwar Hossain of Dhaka University thinks even a limited war on this issue is quite unlikely. This reviewer has looked into history, and seen that no such problem involving a crime of genocide has been resolved peacefully. The issue is likely to be prolonged and in such a case, the growth of an insurgency and recruitment of young zealots by international terror groups is a distinct possibility. To resolve the problem, General Karim suggests that great powers like China, Russia, the US, and the UN and other international organizations work together to ensure citizenship for Rohingyas and their repatriation, and federalism and autonomy in Myanmar. Alas, the Myanmar state looks unlikely to proceed this way; nor are the great powers showing any such inclination. The author agrees that this sounds like tall-talks, but he would still like to be optimistic. Unfortunately, going by the proceedings so far, there seems little space for such optimism. All said and done, this book is unique in as much as it has the intellectual dimension of an academic. It also reflects the strategic perspective of a professional who has had a decades-old career in military and security matters. A remarkable work, this book would be useful both for researchers as well as policymakers who can devise strategies to handle the issue in the years to come…READ MORE"
Reviewed by Md Touhid Hossain, Former Foreign Secretary, published in The Daily Star (December 24, 2020)

Disciplines of the City: New Forms of Governance in Today’s Postmetropolises

Please click here for a review by Alejandra Ríos Ramírez (Departamento de Gobierno y Ciencias Políticas, Universidad EAFIT- Colombia) published in Daimon International Journal of Philosophy, nº 82 (January-April) 2021.

Please click here for a review by Paula Aguadero Ruiz (Graduada en Humanidades, M. U. en Filosofía, Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona/España) published in Salamanca Notebooks of Philosophy, Vol. 47, 2020, 639-642, ISSN: 0210-4857.

Geopolitics in the Twenty-First Century: Territories, Identities, and Foreign Policies

“The contributors to this important book recognize that (neo-)classical geopolitics remains the best prism through which to view and understand the global power shifts of the 21st century.”
Francis P. Sempa
Author of Geopolitics: From the Cold War to the 21st Century

“Sir Halford Mackinder the founding father of classical geopolitics articulated its purpose. Ultimately it was to: “give judgement in practical conduct”. This insightful and well researched book underscores his wisdom. Furthermore, it performs two additional functions. First it provides a clear pathway out of the dark valley of critical geopolitics. Secondly, it places an emphasis on the importance of moving beyond the current misinterpretation of geopolitics as a mere synonym of international strategic rivalry. We are presented with a picture of the constellation of forces which exist at a particular time and within a particular geographical frame of reference. The analysis that is delivered enables an understanding of the emerging complexities of international relations. If you want to understand the geopolitical patterns that will dominate the rest of the twenty first century then this book is an excellent place to start.”
Dr. Geoff Sloan
Associate Professor
University of Reading

Caspian: Status, Challenges, and Prospects. An Analysis into the Legal Classification, Security and Environmental Concerns, Geopolitics and Energy Flow Impact of the Caspian Plateau

"A thoughtful, comprehensive, and balanced analysis of the complex interplay between geopolitics and geo-economics in Central Eurasia, and pivotal energy plateau - that of Caspian. We finally have an all-in reader that was otherwise chronically missing in international literature, which will hopefully reverse the trend of underreporting on such a prime world's spot. Hence, this is a must-read book for those wondering about the future of one of the most dynamic and most promising regions of the world and what it could entail for both regional and external players."
Andrey Kortunov
Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council

“Although of pivotal geopolitical and geo-economic importance, the Caspian energy plateau represents one of the most underreported subjects in the western literature. Interdisciplinary research on the topic is simply missing. This book by the three authors is unbiased, multidisciplinary, accurate, and timely. It is certainly a much-needed and long-awaited reader: a must read for scholars and practitioners, be it from Eurasia or beyond. Authors were able to tackle a challenging subject with a passion, knowledge and precision, and turn it into a compelling, comprehensive (yet concise) read which I highly recommend. It is truly a remarkable piece of work!”
Mr. Erzhan Kazykhanov
Ambassador, Embassy of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Washington, D.C., USA
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Kazakhstan

“ARTNeT secretariat is pleased to see how our initial invitation to Prof. Anis H. Bajrektarevic to present at the ARTNeT Seminar Series in 2015 evolved. The talk was initially published as a working paper for ARTNeT (AWP 149). Now Prof. Bajrektarevic, in collaboration with another two co-authors, offers a comprehensive study on a nexus of legal, security, and environmental issues all emanating from and linked to energy cooperation (or lack thereof) in the subregion. This volume’s value extends beyond the education of readers on the Caspian Basin’s legal status (e.g., is it a sea or a lake?). It is just as relevant for those who want a more in-depth understanding of an interplay of economic, security, and political interest of players in the region and outside. With the global institutions increasingly less capable of dealing with rising geopolitics and geo-economic tensions, more clarity – even if only about some aspects of those problematic issues – should be appreciated. This volume offers such clarity.”
Mia Mikic
Director, UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP)
ARTNeT coordinator

This book on the Caspian Region by Anis Bajrektarevic and his two co-authors, Tanvi Chauhan and Mak Bajrektarevic, is a comprehensive overview of Central Asian area. Its very title is comprehensive and fitting. This region’s pivotal place – practically in the heart of world’s largest continental landmass, that of Eurasia – is masterfully covered: Their instabilities, energy security, including pipelines, and economic interests are only some of the areas covered. It even addresses the important legal classification of the Caspian Basin, this world’s largest inland (landlocked) water plateau. For me, the book offers a wonderful learning experience, because we in the west (of my generation) learned little of the history and even geography of the various states and peoples making up the Soviet Union. Our interest and preoccupations focused primarily on geopolitical issues associated with the cold war between the Soviet Union and the West led by the United States.”
Honorable Donald J Johnston PC OC QC
Former Minister of the Canadian Government, Secretary General of the OECD (1996-2006)

“The book by Professor Bajrektarevic and his co-authors embodies a wide-ranging overview of the intertwined interests pursued by the young democracies of the Caspian basin, battling with inherited land and water disputes, and their interplay with regional and global powers. Apparently, supporting political independence of the formers and promoting their integration into the latter’s markets requires adequate analyses, timely outreach policies and consistent engagement. In this sense the publication serves as one of the scarce handbooks to understand diverse interests of stakeholders, dynamically changing security architecture of the region and emerging opportunities of cooperation around the Caspian Sea.”
Ambassador Galib Israfilov
Permanent Representative to the UN Vienna and to the OSCE
Embassy of Azerbaijan to Austria

"The Caspian basin and adjacent Central Asian region (all being OSCE member states, apart from Iran) have, since the early Middle ages, acted as a crossroads between different civilizations and geopolitical spaces. In an increasingly interconnected world, growing geopolitical competition, economic interdependence and the emergence of new global challenges, particularly those related to water, energy and the climate emergency, have highlighted the relevance of this region, making it of increasing interest to researchers and academics. This book presents a thorough analytical compendium of historical factors, political dynamics, economic trends, legal frameworks and geopolitical interests which underpin, but also affect, the stability and development of this complex, diverse and strategically significant region."
Ambassador Lamberto Zanier
Secretary-General, Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (2011-2017)
OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities (2017-2020)

Georgian Military Forces of 19th Century

“It turned out that the rebellion of 1829, known before as the peasants’ riot, was actually the anti-Russian riot. This is confirmed by the unknown archive materials provided in this book.”
Avtandil Songulashvili
Doctor of History, Professor, Head of Department New History of Tbilisi State Universitety’s Ivane Javakhishvili Institute of History and Ethnology

“Ideology of regular Russian army of that period, with long service term (25 years), slaveholding relationships and strict, enslaving discipline, did not cause any good feelings in Georgian population that was characterized with high military culture and traditions. Cult of the warrior, protector of the native land was apparently much higher than the model of the soldier offered by Russian Empire to Georgians.”
Nikoloz Janjgava
Major General, Doctor of History

“XIX century was a very interesting and painful period in the history of Georgia. To regain the historical lands of their country the Georgians fought under Russian flag.”
Khatuna Ioseliani
Doctor of History, Chief Scientific Worker of Tbilisi State Universitety’s Ivane Javakhishvili Institute of History and Ethnology

Ukraine: A Political Landscape

The book reflects the acute confrontation that has been going on in Ukraine for almost thirty years between regional elites. The author has shown that their different ideas about the future development of the country are determined by the history of formation of the Ukrainian state. This factor is the key reason for political clashes. This book is the first one that thoroughly and objectively shows the struggle for power in Ukraine. The works written by Ukrainian authors, which Dr. Zhiltsov used for this monograph, allow the book to avoid political engagement in covering the most acute periods of Ukrainian political life and, at the same time, to show frankly the changes in the ‘political landscape’ and the role of individual political forces."
Yuliy A. Nisnevich
Doctor of Political Science
Professor of the National Research University
Higher School of Economics (HSE)
Moscow
Russia

“The author reveals the peculiarities of the internal political development of Ukraine. The stages of establishment of the political elite of Ukraine are shown. The factors that determine its approaches to the implementation of domestic and foreign policy of the country are studied. Of interest is the analysis of constant transitions of Ukraine from the presidential form of government to the parliamentary-presidential one and back. It becomes obvious that the political development of Ukraine can still bring a lot of surprises."
Nikolay P. Medvedev
Doctor of Political Science
Professor of Peoples’ Friendship
University of Russia
Moscow
Russia

A Blood Border: Trieste between Mussolini and Tito

"Massacres deserve to be commemorated, even if they were carried out as a measure of revenge. Yet when commemorating the civilians brutally murdered in the context of larger wars, accusations have often been made that such commemorations serve the exculpation of similar acts by one’s own side. Of course two wrongs don’t make a right, and yet both during and after the Second World War in particular, the argument et tu has often been used as though it did. Historians thus walk a tightrope when they seek to commemorate the dead, as they need to avoid the impression that theirs is a unilateral account. Luisa Morettin does a magnificent job here: her research not only brings back into our conscience the many (mostly civilian) victims of the foibe killings in Yugoslav-occupied frontier areas of Italy at the end of World War II, but also contextualises them honestly in a much larger picture. This is not only one of preceding Italian atrocities committed in Yugoslavia during the war itself, but also a story of the brutalisation throughout the “Bloodlands” of Europe (Timothy Snyder). As this very detailed study demonstrates, these Bloodlands were not just confined to the East, but also spread to the Mediterranean, all the way to Venezia Giulia, Istria and Dalmatia." - Professor Beatrice Heuser, Chair of International Relations, University of Glasgow, UK, and author of Western Containment Policies in the Cold War. The Yugoslav Case, 1948-1953.

For more information about this book, please click here.

Intelligence and Security Challenges of European Migrant Crisis: An Insight into an Innovative Forecasting Model

"The monograph “Intelligence and Security Challenges of European Migrant Crisis: An Insight into an Innovative Forecasting Model”, written by my respected colleagues Theodora Ivanuša, Dejan Dragan, Iztok Podbregar, Gašper Hribar, and Janez Žirovnik, resulted from their successfully conducted theoretical and empirical research on important and current topic: migrant crisis in Europe 2015 – 2016, with the emphasis on its security and intelligence aspects. A unique methodological approach to researching the phenomenon resulted in testing and presenting Innovative Forecasting Model, applicable in short-term and mid-term anticipation of occurrences and development of similar crises in the future.

“The reasons behind increased attention to illegal migration today in the world are not only implications of refugee waves on political, economic, and demographic situations for the transit and host countries of asylum seekers. Namely, in the masses of refugees and migrants, the presence of undercover terrorist and transnational criminal organizations is highly expected, that may affect the national security of the country they encounter with. Noticeable example of this claim is the peak of migrant crisis in 2015, when over one million persons from the Middle East arrived in the Member States of the European Union via transiting Balkan route from Turkey. Many asylum seekers who have entered the EU on the refugee wave, have been later identified as perpetrators or accomplices of terrorist acts done in several European cities.

In introductory chapter (pg. 1-44) the authors have provided a comprehensive overview of the background, causes, trends, features, including security and geopolitical consequences of European migrant crisis, on transit countries on the Balkan and Mediterranean route, as well as on the European Union and its Member States. In this regard, it was pointed out that the migrant crisis contributed to long-term breach of the values of the EU, weakening the internal cohesion and questioning the future of the European Union, boosting populism and xenophobia in many European countries, as well as worsening inter-state relations between fragile area of the Balkans.

Studying the activities of the intelligence institutions of European countries during the migrant crisis, the authors point out the lack of attentiveness, thus incompleteness and ineffectiveness of measures for the systematic collection of relevant data and information, mismatch between national databases, failure in applying corresponding methods of analyzing and modeling, therefore, the absence of an anticipating component. The monograph states that from the intelligence community in transit and reception countries it was not realistic to expect that these countries could keep the situation completely keep under control, given the lack of inter-state and multilateral cooperation, especially in terms of the possible political influence of the intelligence-security institutions, as well as the existence of different national interests in regards to this issue. In this context, the authors are questioning whether the migrant crisis imposed the need of establishing a new specific intelligence and counterintelligence methods?

Second chapter (pg. 45-122) offers the results of analysis of the migrant wave flow across Turkey and Greece into Europe during the period October 2015 to June 2016. For the purposes of research, conducted on the basis of statistical and other open source data, the authors have used a combined Monte Carlo Scenario-Playing Simulation-Based Mechanism, in addition to designing integrated ARIMA-Intervention Model. Researchers have, in the basic of ARIMA Model, added a component of intervention due to the fact that the European migrant crisis was greatly provoked and then stopped, by the unexpected effects of external factors.

In analyzing and modeling, daily frequencies of the movement of refugees on the Balkan route during 250 days of observations were tracked and recorded, periodic trends related to the activities of the network of human traffickers (approximately weekly cycles until February 2016), and effects of external factors; situation changing on the migrant route, after the signing of the EU-Turkey Agreement on March 20, 2016, sudden changes in policy of the participating countries towards migrants in the period before the Agreement (procedure stop-start), and other unexpected external events, in terms of its effect on the magnitude expression, i.e. increase and/or decrease of migrant wave intensity. All this have constituted a framework to the authors to generate future trends of situation development in similar circumstances, using the Monte Carlo Scenario-Playing Mechanism.

On the grounds of the results of analyzing and modeling, the readers and intelligence community in European countries, were presented with possibilities of applying the Innovative Forecasting Model – for the purpose of reaching a short-term and med-term anticipation of likelihood of the future migrant wave occurrence towards Europe, i.e. the establishment of an appropriate system of early warning. In this regard, it is important to point out that the quantitative modeling, testing of various generators of uncertainty and randomness, and predictive approach of this type by now was very rarely used in research related to security issues and terrorism battling.

The obtained results could be significantly important for the relevant institutions of the European Union and its Member States, as well as, for transit states, to plan appropriate measures of border protection, battling terrorism, and improvement of the asylum policy. Also, the proposed Innovative Forecasting Model can contribute to the improvement of the methodology of analyzing data within the intelligence community and be useful to researchers focused on security issues.

That being said, the monograph „Intelligence and Security Challenges of European Migrant Crisis: An Insight into an Innovative Forecasting Model” represents a valuable and innovative scientific achievement and its publication should be wholeheartedly supported.” - Dragan Trivan, PhD, Associate Professor, University “UNION – NIKOLA TESLA,” Belgrade, Serbia

For more information about this book, please click here.