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A DIPLOMATIC HISTORY OF THE CASPIAN SEA by Guive Mirfendereski. With a foreword by H. E. Chehabi. New York: Palgrave, July 2001. ISBN: 0-31224005-8. Hardcover. Appendices. Notes. Bibliography. Index. 260+ pages.

In series of highly charged narratives, together subtitled Treaties, Diaries, and Other Stories, the author transports the reader to the windswept shores of the Caspian Sea and provides a provocative glimpse at the wars, reconciliations, intrigues, and betrayals that have shaped the political geography of this region since the 1720s. The book explores the historical themes that inform the more immediate and familiar discussions about petroleum, pipelines, security issues, and ethnic conflict which one encounters in most other contemporary works on the region.

Chapters

* The Price of Survival (1721-1724).
* Persian Restoration (1724-1735).
* A Russian Lake (1735-1781).
* Catherine and Agha Mohammad (1781-1797).
* Creeping South to Astara-Chay (1797- 1829).
* On to Ashuradeh! (1835-1841). Melgunov's Field Trip (1858-1860).
* The Royal Playground (1866-1870).
* The Voyager King (1873). Ballantine's Travels (1875).
* To Qizil Su and Beyond (1869-1876).
* The Shah's Second European Tour (1878).
* Taming of the Turkmans (1879-1881)
* Hemming of Persia at Gudri (1881-1893).
* Curzon's Complaint (1892). The Mortgaging of Persia (1872-1896).
* Savage-Landor's Lament (1901). Surf and Turf (1901-1903).
* Mozaffar ed-Din's Concessions (1898-1907).
* At the Water's Edge (1902) .
* The Lords of Northern Persia (1907-1917).
* Seeing Red (1917).
* The Fisher of Troubled Waters (1917-1918).
* Baku or Bust! (1918-1920).
* The Persian Socialist Soviet Republic (1920).
* The League's Legalese (1920).
* Mending Fences (1921).
* The Sinclair Squeeze Play (1922- 1924).
* Fish Stories (1927).
* Peripheral Developments (1923-1936).
* The Shah's Northern Navy (1924-1935).
* The Iranian and Soviet Sea (1931-1940) .
* Chapter 33: Making Virtue of Necessity (1939-1943)
* Lingering Imperialism (1943-1947).
* Good Neighborliness (1953-1971).
* Peace on Land, Peace at Sea (1952-1977).
* Imaginary Line, Real Limits (1962-1991).
* A Secret Covenant (1962).
* Death and Succession (1991).
* New Players, New Game, New Rules (1991-1997).
* Diplomacy and Betrayal (1997-1999). Our Sea, 2000. Conclusion.
* Appendix

Endorsements

* This is a must read for any serious analyst of this area, and for policymakers....
-- J. Nanay, Petroleum Finance Company, Washington, D.C.

* ... Mirfendereski brings together the charm of autobiography and the incision of legal discussion ... in a book both readable and instructive.
-- E. Naby, author of Afghanistan: Mullah, Marx and Mujahid (1998)

* ... Mirfendereski is a masterful storyteller, who has managed to weave history, politics, geography, and international law into a series of highly charged and exciting narratives .... In the process, he has created a work that sets a high standard against which all other publications of this genre will be measured for some time to come. A must read for international relations enthusiasts and professionals."
-- Professor H. Amirahmadi, Rutgers University

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