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 | October 4, 2012

Pricing and Purchase Info

$53.35 online 
$59.95 list price save 11%
Earn 267 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


In Balkan Smoke, Mary C. 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 Associate Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of The Orient Within: Muslim Minorities and the Negotiation of Nationhood in Modern Bulgaria, also...
Title:Balkan Smoke: Tobacco And The Making Of Modern BulgariaFormat:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.97 inPublished:October 4, 2012Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801450845

ISBN - 13:9780801450846

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents

Introduction1. Coffeehouse Babble: Smoking and Sociability in the Long Nineteenth Century2. No Smoke without Fire: Tobacco and Transformation, 1878–19143. From the Orient Express to the Sofia Café: Smoke and Propriety in the Interwar Years4. The Tobacco Fortress: Asenovgrad Krepost and the Politics of Tobacco between the World Wars5. From Leaf to Ash: Jews, Germans, and Bulgarian Gold in the Second World War6. Smoke-Filled Rooms: Places to Light Up in Communist Bulgaria7. Smokes for Big Brother: Bulgartabak and Tobacco under CommunismConclusionNotes

Editorial Reviews

"With Balkan Smoke, Mary C. Neuburger has established herself as a trailblazer in twentieth-century Eastern European history. She effectively exploits the history of one commodity, in this case tobacco, to illuminate a wide range of interconnected economic, cultural, and social transformations in communist Bulgaria. Using tobacco, Neuburger rethinks the functioning of communist economies and the potential for entrepreneurial creativity within them, the tension between economic motives and public health motives in defining a state's attempts to influence the behavior of its citizens, and the connections between southeastern Europe and the European/global economy." - Alison Frank, Harvard University, author of Oil Empire: Visions of Prosperity in Austrian Galicia