By Mary C. Neuburger
In Balkan Smoke, Mary Neuburger leads readers alongside the Bulgarian-Ottoman caravan routes and into the coffeehouses of Istanbul and Sofia. She unearths how a distant kingdom used to be drawn into worldwide financial networks via tobacco construction and intake and within the technique turned smooth. In writing the lifetime of tobacco in Bulgaria from the past due Ottoman interval over the years of Communist rule, Neuburger provides us even more than the cultural background of a commodity; she offers a clean standpoint at the genesis of contemporary Bulgaria itself.
The tobacco exchange involves form such a lot of Bulgaria's diplomacy; it drew Bulgaria into its fateful alliance with Nazi Germany and within the postwar interval Bulgaria used to be the first provider of smokes (the famed Bulgarian Gold) for the USSR and its satellites. by way of the overdue Sixties Bulgaria used to be the number 1 exporter of tobacco on the planet, with approximately one 8th of its inhabitants concerned about production.
Through the pages of this ebook we stopover at the locations the place tobacco is grown and meet the retailers, the employees, and the peasant growers, so much of whom are Muslim via the postwar interval. alongside the way in which, we learn the way smoking and anti-smoking impulses inspired perceptions of luxurious and necessity, questions of novelty, imitation, worth, flavor, and gender-based respectability. whereas the scope is usually worldwide, Neuburger additionally explores the politics of tobacco inside of Bulgaria. one of the book's surprises are the ways that conflicts over the tobacco (and smoking) aid to elucidate the forbidding quagmire of Bulgarian politics.
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