Balkan Smoke: Tobacco And The Making Of Modern Bulgaria by Mary C. NeuburgerBalkan Smoke: Tobacco And The Making Of Modern Bulgaria by Mary C. Neuburger

Balkan Smoke: Tobacco And The Making Of Modern Bulgaria

byMary C. Neuburger

Hardcover | November 13, 2012

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In Balkan Smoke, Mary Neuburger leads readers along the Bulgarian-Ottoman caravan routes and into the coffeehouses of Istanbul and Sofia. She reveals how a remote country was drawn into global economic networks through tobacco production and consumption and in the process became modern. In writing the life of tobacco in Bulgaria from the late Ottoman period through the years of Communist rule, Neuburger gives us much more than the cultural history of a commodity; she provides a fresh perspective on the genesis of modern Bulgaria itself.

The tobacco trade comes to shape most of Bulgaria's international relations; it drew Bulgaria into its fateful alliance with Nazi Germany and in the postwar period Bulgaria was the primary supplier of smokes (the famed Bulgarian Gold) for the USSR and its satellites. By the late 1960s Bulgaria was the number one exporter of tobacco in the world, with roughly one eighth of its population involved in production.

Through the pages of this book we visit the places where tobacco is grown and meet the merchants, the workers, and the peasant growers, most of whom are Muslim by the postwar period. Along the way, we learn how smoking and anti-smoking impulses influenced perceptions of luxury and necessity, questions of novelty, imitation, value, taste, and gender-based respectability. While the scope is often global, Neuburger also explores the politics of tobacco within Bulgaria. Among the book's surprises are the ways in which conflicts over the tobacco industry (and smoking) help to clarify the forbidding quagmire of Bulgarian politics.

Mary C. Neuburger is Director of the Center for Russian East European and Eurasian Studies, Chair of the Department of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, and Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the coeditor of the Journal of Contemporary History and author of The Orient Within: Muslim Minorities and the Negotia...
Title:Balkan Smoke: Tobacco And The Making Of Modern BulgariaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:November 13, 2012Publisher:CORNELL UNIVERSITY PRESSLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801450845

ISBN - 13:9780801450846

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Table of Contents


1. Coffeehouse Babble: Smoking and Sociability in the Long Nineteenth Century

2. No Smoke without Fire: Tobacco and Transformation, 1878–1914

3. From the Orient Express to the Sofia Café: Smoke and Propriety in the Interwar Years

4. The Tobacco Fortress: Asenovgrad Krepost and the Politics of Tobacco between the World Wars

5. From Leaf to Ash: Jews, Germans, and Bulgarian Gold in the Second World War

6. Smoke-Filled Rooms: Places to Light Up in Communist Bulgaria

7. Smokes for Big Brother: Bulgartabak and Tobacco under Communism



Editorial Reviews

"Mary C. Neuburger, already a preeminent scholar of the history of commodities, here examines the dogged Bulgarian attachment to the cigarette, past and present. She crafts a fascinating story that ranges from the biological effects of a puff to the workings of the global tobacco industry. Along the way she offers a compelling analysis of leisure, sociability, state transformation and individual agency in the twentieth century. This is a marvelously inventive, one-of-a-kind work from an enormously talented historian."—Maureen Healy, Lewis & Clark College, author of Vienna and the Fall of the Habsburg Empire: Total War and Everyday Life in World War I