Until the end of the Cold War, the politics of national identity were confined to isolated incidents of ethnic strife and civil war in distant countries.
With the collapse of Communist regimes across Europe and the loosening of the Cold War's clamp on East–West relations, a surge of nationalism swept the world stage. In Blood and Belonging, Ignatieff makes a thorough examination of why blood ties—in places as diverse as Yugoslavia, Kurdistan, Northern Ireland, Quebec, Germany, and the former Soviet republics—may be the definitive factor in international relations today. He asks how ethnic pride turned into ethnic cleansing, whether modern citizens can lay to rest the ghosts of a warring past, why—and whether—a people need a state of their own. Blood and Belonging is a profound and searching look at one of the most complex issues of our time.
Winner of the Lionel Gelber Prize and the Gordon Montador Award for Best Canadian Book on Social Issues
"Ignatieff's probing analysis of the meanings and consequences of 'the new nationalism' provides crucial insights into the fragility of 'civic nationalism' and the 'liberal virtues [of] tolerance, compromise, reason.'"— Booklist
To understand the current upsurge of nationalist tensions, Ignatieff ( The Needs of Strangers ) traveled through war-torn former Yugoslavia, then to reunited Germany, Ukraine, Quebec, Kurdistan and Northern Ireland. In a compelling mix of interviews, history, vivid impressions and sharp reportage, he argues that nationalism can be a constructive, welding force, but that, in its extreme, authoritarian form, it serves as a collective escape from reality, whose adherents, inhabiting a delusional realm of noble causes and tragic sacrifice, strait jacket themselves and other groups in the fiction of an irreducible ethnic identity. Ignatieff includes a firsthand look inside a Kurdish guerrilla camp in northern Iraq, a meeting with a neo-Nazi skinhead in Leipzig, an interview with octogenarian Yugoslav dissident Milovan Djilas (author of Conversations With Stalin ) and encounters with Cree Indians of northern Canada who, adding their voices to the separatist chorus of French-speaking Quebecois, are demanding self-determination in an effort to stave off encroaching hydroelectric development. Photos.