"Oh my goodness, what a fascinating and alluring book.”
Author Valerie Poore
“This is a must-read travel book. It’s a personal journey as well as a real and deep journey to a place that I knew little about.”
Reviewer EO on Amazon
“I hugely enjoyed The First Toast is to Peace. It’s an utterly compelling read. Incidental detail, lively pen portraits, geopolitical context, condensed histories are all woven together with great ease and skill.”
Jon Nixon, Honorary Professor, Education University of Hong Kong.
The First Toast is to Peace: Travels in the South Caucasus
brings alive a captivating part of the globe that the English-speaking world has been slow to appreciate. Stephen Powell, a British journalist, travelled through remote fastnesses in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, and lost his heart to the Caucasus. The rugged beauty of the mountains, higher than the Alps, a strong sense of history and enduring traditions of hospitality give the region a flavour all of its own. Change came slowly to the Caucasus and in one part of Georgia the men wore chainmail armour until the 1930s. The First Toast is to Peace
leads the reader through these complex lands with first-hand accounts of distant trails, forays into history and conversations with local people about their hopes for the future. The narrative provides answers to questions great and small. How is Stalin regarded today in his native Georgia? How do you reach Khevsureti by horse? What is life like in Europe’s forgotten war zone, Nagorno-Karabakh?
“Oh my goodness, what a fascinating and alluring book. I’ve never been in the slightest bit interested in Georgia or Azerbaijan; neither had I any clue about the break-away states of Nagorno-Karabakh or Abkhazia. So why did I embark on reading this marvellously enlightening book? Well, for me it was firstly because it included Armenia, a country that has interested me for quite a while now, and the second reason was simply the intriguing title. What was it about the first toast? What about the southern Caucasus. Well, as the saying goes ‘I learnt me so much.’
Stephen Powell, retired Reuters editor and journalist who has seen and witnessed many of the world’s hottest spots and conflicts, embarks on a journey through the southern Caucasus region that reminded me of Patrick Leigh Fermor and Laurie Lee.” Valerie Poore, author, on her own website.
Want to read it in other formats…?
The First Toast is to Peace is available on Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks.