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Steavenson, Wendell, Stories I Stole: From Georgia (London: Atlantic Books, 2002).

Fed up with working for Time magazine in London, Wendell Steavenson spent two years in the former Soviet republic of Georgia. Stories I Stole captures the exuberance of a fledgling nation of local despots, mountain tribes, blood feuds, and an unlimited flow of red wine. From President Shevardnadze's rigged elections to horse races high in the mountains; from the eerie roadside artifacts of the Soviet era to the farcical power outages in the dead of winter, here is Georgia: weird, invigorating, and still coming to grips with the legacy of its most famous son, Joseph Stalin. Far more than a travel book, this is a scintillating menagerie of true stories peopled by vivid — and sometimes insane — characters. In the beach resort of Sukhumi, once the destination of every fashionable Russian but now wracked by civil war, Wendell plays hangman with a secret policeman. In the capital Tbilisi — ensconced in Levan's Magic Room or lounging in the steam baths — she hears about the latest duel or kidnapping. In Khevsureti, the meadows are dotted with blue-painted beehives and yellow flowers, while just over the border, there is war in Chechnya.

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