The Caucasus is divided into the Higher and Lower Caucasus, with Russia, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan all being a part of it. I previously wrote a separate blog post about books in Russia, and this one is specifically focused on Armenia and Georgia since we haven’t had the chance to travel to to Azerbaijan yet.
One of the first things that amazed me when I delved into the history of Armenia and Georgia is that they were the first nations to embrace Christianity. It’s no wonder that both countries boast plenty of ancient monasteries and churches, often situated in the remotest and most stunning locations. Additionally this region has experienced its fair share of conflicts, resulting in the abundance of fortresses and watchtowers.
For enthusiasts of ancient architecture, these countries are a paradise.
Our exploration of both nations has only just begun, with six weeks of overlanding in Georgia, and we are about to ‘discover’ Armenia through the Transcaucasian Trail, an 861-kilometer hike from north to south. I’ve loaded my Kindle with books mentioned below, specifically about the Caucasus and Armenia, to keep me company during the long evenings in the tent.
I invite you to come and explore, to travel and visit, to savor the local cuisine and meet the people in Armenia and Georgia. To be well-prepared, read a book or two from the list below.
Read More: Overland Camping in Georgia
A Note about this Booklist
In this list you will find books about the Caucasus in general, as well ones that are specifically about Armenia or Georgia. These are the ones I have started with, and more may follow as I read more books and/or if we get to chance to visit Azerbaijan as well.
1. Non-Fiction Books about the Caucasus
The Caucasus: An Introduction, by Thomas de Waal
As far as I have heard, this is the most recommended book to get a general idea of the Caucasus history. I found it easy to read and it did exactly what it promised: give me a general overview of the region we are traveling in.
I know nothing about the Caucasus, I realized as we crossed into Georgia. I feel that getting to know about the region’s myths and legends is a good, if not original, way of getting a feel for it.
2. Non-Fiction Books about Armenia
The Hundred-Year Walk: An Armenian Odyssey, by Dawn Anahid MacKeen
An absolutely gripping, personal story about the Armenian genocide. The book is written by the granddaughter of a survivor of the genocide, whose diaries were discovered. With substantial assistance from various experts, the author skillfully weaves this personal narrative into a broader depiction of the political and social landscape of the Ottoman Empire around 2015.
We often hear about the Armenian genocide, this book is about what happened next: the assassination of the head figures who were responsible for the genocide. Interestingly the assassins were found not guilty of their crimes. A story little told.
History of Armenia: A Captivating Guide to Armenian History, by Captivating History
‘Captivating History‘ has a whole series on different countries. I’m unfamiliar with it and curious if its way of presenting a country’s history appeals to me.
3. Fiction Books about Armenia & Georgia
An Excess of Nationalism: A Novel About Armenia, by Joel Hirst
An intriguing perspective from an author who grappled with life during Soviet times and provides a glimpse into the lives of Armenians during the Soviet era.
The Eighth Life: (for Brilka), by Nino Haratischvili
An international bestseller, this book was most often recommended to me when asking for books about the Caucasus. And now I understand why. I took some time to get into the story, but then I couldn’t put the book down anymore and was sad to have finished it.
4. Travel Guidebooks about the Caucasus
Travel Guide Georgia, by Bradt
The #1 guidebook for Armenia. Lots of background information, and they – as in all their guidebooks – do their best to include destinations & information not found with a quick Google search or the big guidebook publications.
Armenia, Georgia & Azerbaijan Guidebook, by Lonely Planet
For the time being Lonely Planet has no travel guides dedicated to the individual Caucasus countries, but the three combined give a good overview.
5. Overland Guidebook on Georgia
Oun Travela is working hard on publishing a fantastic series of overland guidebooks designed for, yes, overlanders. Check out their website for more overland travel guidebooks! Here’s EXPLORE GEORGIA.
Tips, Suggestions, Feedback?
I’m sure there are plenty of other interesting books about the Caucasus or individual countries. Which ones should add to my list? I’d love to hear them. Feel free to share them in the comment section below or send me an email. Thanks!
Originally published in August 2023 / updated January 2024
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