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Landscapes of Disease - Malaria in Modern Greece
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Debating the Past
Modern Bulgarian Historiography—From Stambolov to Zhivkov

Roumen Daskalov, New Bulgarian University, Sofia and Central European University, Budapest

The book is comprised of the four major debates on modern Bulgarian history from Independence in 1878 to the fall of communism in 1989. The debates are on the Bulgarian–Russian/Soviet relations, on the relations between Agrarians and Communists, on Bulgarian Fascism, and on Communism. They are associated with the rule of key political personalities in Bulgarian history: Stambolov (1887–1894), Stamboliiski (1919–1923), Tsar Boris III (1918–1943), and the communist leaders Georgi Dimitrov and Todor Zhivkov (1956–1989). The debates are traced through their various articulations and dramatic turns from their beginnings to the present day.

"This intelligent, competent and methodologically rigorous analysis of Bulgarian historiography from the 19th century to the present is one of the few genuinely modern historiographical syntheses in the East European field. It thus contributes significantly to the gradual de-provincialization of the discipline.”
Maria Todorova, Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Introduction Chapter 1 Stambolov, the Russophiles, and the Russophobes in Bulgaria Initial Interpretations of the Stambolov Era –The Marxist Historians on Stambolov’s Regime – Towards Stambolov’s Rehabilitation After the Fall of the Communist Regime Chapter 2 The Rule of the Bulgarian Agrarian National Union and the “Worker-Peasant Alliance” The Road to Power Agrarian Rule: Ideology and Reforms – Interpretation and Assessments – Aleksandŭr Stamboliiski – The Agrarian Union and the “Unity of Action” with the Bulgarian Communist Party – Chapter 3 The Debate on Fascism and the Anti-fascist Struggles The Long Fascism and the Breaches in It – “Monarcho-Fascism” – Bulgaria and Hitler’s Germany – Anti-Fascism and the Struggle against Fascism – After Communism Chapter 4 September Ninth, “People’s Democracy” and Socialism September Ninth – “People’s Democracy” (1944–1948) – Socialism in Progress – After Socialism, about Socialism: September Ninth Revisited – The People’s Democratic Transition – Georgi Dimitrov – The Macedonian Question – The Repressions – Bulgarian Totalitarianism – The Zhivkov Era and Descriptions of the System – Socialist Modernization – Aspects of the System Conclusion The Truth and Objectivity Question in Bulgarian Historical Scholarship Transliteration


376 pages
ISBN 978-615-5053-00-9 cloth $50.00 / €45.00 / £40.00

"From its birth as a modern state Bulgaria has lived under the shadow of either Tsarist Russia or the Soviet Union, both of which posed as the “liberator”, first from the Ottoman Turks, and then from fascism. Thus nationalistic history writing — which seems endemic among Bulgarians — bumped up against the political need to keep in lockstep with Russia. In Daskalov’s view, the communist era politicized historians in order to serve the rulers. But at the same time, the nationalists succeeded in 'liberalizing' history and making it capable of subverting 'official tenets and meanings, not least due to the power of language to displace meanings and shift perspectives'.
Daskalov is a historiographer and writes about those who write history. Such books are very hard to review as, particularly in Bulgaria, there is hardly a turning point or a prominent personality that has not been interpreted, reinterpreted, revised, and/or condemned to temporary silence. And that several times over. It is a never-ending story very much dependent on political structures. The readers of Daskalov’s book cannot help being struck by the similarities between the aims and methods of communist and traditional nationalist historians. Both types share the same attitude towards history — that there is a single Truth to be discovered by sifting through documents. Both types are willing to subordinate their use of sources to a one-sided interpretation that serves a political purpose." - Baltic Worlds

"This fascinating book is a must-read for anyone delving into the ideological battles of twentieth-century Eastern Europe." - American Historical Review