Situated between Greece on the south, the former Yugoslavia on the rth and east, and the Adriatic Sea on the west, Albania is the country the world forgot. Throughout this century, Albania has been perceived as primitive and isolationist by its neighbors to the west. When the country ended fifty years of communist rule in 1992, few outsiders took interest. Deemed unworthy of membership in the European Union and overlooked by multinational corporations, Albania stands today as one of the poorest and most igred countries in Europe. Miranda Vickers and James Pettifer take us behind the veil of former President Enver Hoxha's isolationist policies to examine the historic events leading up to Albania's transition to a parliamentary government. Beginning with Hoxha's death in 1985, Albania traces the last decade of Albania's shaky existence, from the anarchy and chaos of the early nineties to the victory of the Democratic Alliance in 1992 and the programs of the current government. The authors provide us with an analysis of how the moral, religious, ecomic, political and cultural identity of the Albanian people is being redefined, and leave question that the future of Albania is inextricably linked to the future of the Balkans as a whole. In short, they tell us why Albania matters.
Author of The Albanians: A Modern History, MIRANDA VICKERS is an historian of the Balkans and a regular contributor to newspapers and periodicals on Albanian affairs. JAMES PETTIFER is Visiting Professor at the Institute of Balkan Studies at the University of Thessaloniki, and author of The Greeks: Land and People since the War and other books.