Azerbaijan International

Autumn 2000 (8.3)
Page 85

New Books
Caucasus Guidebook

The Lonely Planet guide to "Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan" was just released August 2000. Each section is by a different author, which may explain the book's uneven treatment of the region.

The Georgian section (104 pages) is written by husband-wife team David Rowson and Keti Japardize and provides the most comprehensive coverage of all the countries.

The Azerbaijani section (72 pages) was written by Neil Wilson and is carefully researched. To his credit, the author provides all toponyms in Azeri Latin spellings, which eliminates the confusion of English spelling via Azeri or Russian.

Wilson is sensitive to issues relating to Nagorno Karabakh (NK), which is something that Azerbaijanis will question in the Armenian section (54 pages), written by Beth Potter. Her section appears woefully inadequate in research, or worse yet, outright biased.

Lonely Planet places Nagorno Karabakh in the Armenian section of the book, though no nation - with the exception of Armenia - recognizes Nagorno Karabakh as being separate from Azerbaijan, or as being part of Armenia. There are other glaring errors; for instance, Potter says "Nagorno" is an Armenian word meaning "mountainous". Russians would balk. She fails to continue the discussion to explain the word "Karabakh", which is the Russian spelling of the Azeri word "Garabagh", which means "black or great garden".

Potter places the blame for the war on Azerbaijan because it abolished the autonomous status of the Nagorno Karabakh region in response to Armenians in NK declaring their independence.

One would hope that in future editions, such sections could be further researched to reflect a truer perspective of the complexity that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths on both sides and the displacement of more than 1.2 million people from the region.

Overall, however, if you're serious about getting to know the region, it would be worthwhile to get both travel guides, Lonely Planet and Trailblazer, as together they add valuable insight into a region that has little material available in English. In general, they have done an admirable job of putting these countries of the Caucasus on the world map.

"Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan" (Lonely Planet Publications, 2000, 336 pages, $19.99, ISBN 0864426801, or Wilson at:


Azerbaijan International (8.3) Autumn 2000.
© Azerbaijan International 2000. All rights reserved.

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