Rebels, believers, survivors : studies in the history of the Albanians

Noel Malcolm: Rebels, believers, survivors : studies in the history of the Albanians. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020

This book of essays covers a wide range of topics in the history of Albania and Kosovo. Many of the essays illuminate connections between the Albanian lands and external powers and interests, whether political, military, diplomatic or religious. Such topics include the Habsburg invasion of Kosovo in 1689, the manoeuvrings of Britain and France towards the Albanian lands during the Napoleonic Wars, the British interest in those lands in the late nineteenth century, and the Balkan War of 1912. On the religious side, essays examine ‘crypto-Christianity’ in Kosovo during the Ottoman period, the stories of conversion to Islam revealed by Inquisition records, the first theological treatise written in Albanian (1685), and the work of the ‘Apostolic Delegate’ who reformed the Catholic Church in early twentieth-century Albania. Some essays bring to life ordinary individuals hitherto unknown to history: women hauled before the Inquisition, for example, or the author of the first Albanian autobiography. The longest essay, on Ali Pasha, tells for the first time the full story of the role he played in the international politics of the Napoleonic Wars. Some of these studies have been printed before (several in hard-to-find publications, and one only in Albanian), but the greater part of this book appears here for the first time. This is not only a contribution to Albanian and Balkan history it also engages with many broader issues, including religious conversion, methods of enslavement within the Ottoman Empire, and the nature of modern myth-making about national identity. (Verlagstext)