Book Reviews


Recommended Publications on Kazakhstan

Odyssey Kazakhstan: “Nomadic Routes from Caspian to Altai” by Dagmar Schreiber. A guide to the Central Asian nation, with essays on history, culture, architecture and nature. (ISBN: 978-962-217-789-5, $24.95, www.amazon.com).
 
Hedonist's Guide to Almaty and Astana by Lucy Kelaart and Summer Coish. Whether it's sipping vodka cocktails in Almaty's lounge bars, admiring Astana's architecture, visiting the churches and mosques or venturing into the countryside to ski or explore the dramatic steppe, this guide explores Kazakhstan's and explores Soviet past and its independent present. (ISBN: 978-I-905428-21-2, $18.95, http://www.hg2.com/stores/Almaty-and-Astana).
 
Apples Are from Kazakhstan: The Land that Disappeared by Christopher Robbins. “Robbins’s travelogue enthusiastically and infectiously blends history, observation, and mini biographies … A captivating read notable for off-the-cuff candor and measured, eloquent prose.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review). (ISBN: 978-0-9777433-8-4, $17.47, www.amazon.com).
 
Kazakhstan (Bradt Travel Guide) by HE Paul Brummel, UK Ambassador to Kazakhstan. Located between Russia and China, the state of Kazakhstan is incredibly diverse and naturally beautiful. This guide includes information about visiting natural parks and reserves as well as features on the singing sand dunes and the Sharyn Canyon - Asia's equivalent of the Grand Canyon. (ISBN-10: 1841622346, $19.70, www.amazon.com).
 
Nazarbayev and the Making of Kazakhstan by Jonathan Aitken. “Acclaimed biographer Jonathan Aitken tells the unknown story, sparkling with human and historical detail, of how the most brutally oppressed of the Soviet republics is being transformed by its first President, Nursultan Nazarbayev, into a modern, exotic and oil rich nation state of key strategic importance in the 21st century” (ISBN-978-1-44115-381-4, $34.95, www.amazon.com).
 
Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry Publishes Kazakhstan at Twenty: Fulfilling the Promise

“In 2001, a book by Martha Brill Olcott, Kazakhstan: Unfulfilled Promise, caused quite a stir as many people, myself including, were in disagreement with her. Today, ten productive and intensive years later, those same people have even more justification to state the case for Kazakhstan’s progress towards fully grown market economy and participatory democracy. Yet, we in Kazakhstan are fully aware that we are not there yet, so to speak, and that much work remains to be done. Hence the title of the book, and I hope Dr. Olcott wouldn’t mind our little wordplay,” Roman Vassilenko, Chairman of the Committee for International Information of Kazakhstan’s Foreign Ministry said.

(http://portal.mfa.kz/portal/page/portal/mfa/en/content/news/nws2011/2011-04-18).

 
Green Desert: the Life and Poetry of Olzhas Suleimenov is the first comprehensive translation of Olzhas Suleimenov's poetry in English. It provides a concise overview of the poet’s rich literary heritage and serves as an introduction to the contemporary literature of Kazakhstan and Eurasia. The book is edited by Dr. Rafis Abazov, who is adjunct associate professor at Hunter College and Columbia University (New York).

The books are widely available (ISBN 978-1-60927-757-4, $46.95, http://www.cognella.com/titles/Green-Desert/).

 
Islam without a Veil: Kazakshtan’s path of modernization. Kazakhstan has proven that a mostly Muslim nation can be active on the international scene. Its leaders have worked fervently to bridge the ugly schism that has developed since the 9/11 attacks.

How has Kazakhstan been able to maintain its Muslim heritage yet remain on track toward modernization?

Claude Salhani examines the successful phenomenon of Kazakhstan today. He looks at the progress it has attained in just two decades since independence. While there is no doubt as to the Muslim identity of the country, Kazakhstan is living proof that there can be a “kinder, gentler” mode of Islam, in which one can live at peace with oneself and with one’s neighbors, despite their differences (ISBN 1597977314, $23.96, http://www.potomacbooksinc.com/Books/BookDetail.aspx?productID=279024).