: Enver Hoxha: The Iron Fist of Albania (): Blendi Fevziu, Robert Elsie: Books. Blendi Fevziu’s biography of Enver Hoxha, first published in , comes to an English-speaking audience after a tumultuous reception in. In Enver Hoxha: The Iron Fist of Albania, Blendi Fevziu provides the first English- language biography of the dictator, drawing upon hitherto.
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Lists with This Book. This book is not yet blenid on Listopia. Fevziu is an Albanian journalist, writer, and host of the TV talk show Opinion.
He graduated in literature and Albanian language at the University of Tirana in and inhe was part of the staff of the Student newspaper of the University. In December and February he was an active participant i Enver Hoxha: In December and February he was an active participant in the students’ movement that blensi the change of regime in Albania.
Albania was mostly a forgotten country in the West. It was a communist country and a member of the Warsaw Pact but seemingly a quiet partner.
What was know about Albania was little, too. It was portrayed as an agrarian country that used rather primitive technology. I remember reading and seeing a new tractor that was a design from decades ago. Hoxha, himself, never finished his college education. In fact, he dropped out of a few schools. In an early “trial” after the Germans fled Albania, Hoxha appointed a judge whose highest education was elementary school.
The Hoxha regime was as undereducated as it was lasting. Hoxha did have a hero and that was Josef Stalin. He shared many traits with the Soviet dictator. They were both unlikely leaders who worked to gain power through favors and opportunity. Hoxha had little interest in politics until he found himself in it.
Like Stalin, after gaining power Hoxha eliminated all his competition and ended all competition for power. Stalin’s purges hit the military and Hoxha purges the educated. There are plenty of similarities between Hoxha and Stalin both personal and governmental. Hoxha, like he made his country, was quite isolated. After WWII, he never set foot in a free country.
His last visit to a communist country was in He lived in an area called the block, heavily guarded area of the city with limited access. That is what kept him in the country in seclusion. His last visit to Khrushchev’s Soviet Union, he would only eat food from the Albanian Embassy prepared from ingredients collected from several small markets. He has refused to fly out of the Soviet Union and took a train to Austria before flying into Albania.
He never trusted Kruschev or the Chinese let alone any Western country. Albania as a nation ranked as the third poorest in the world. Not Europe, but the world. The Iron Fist of Albania is a detailed look at the man who ruled Albania for over forty years. This book would have been better if it could have provided more details of the country itself. Although not published to be a country study, it would help western readers understand the country that was hidden by its own iron curtain.
It is interesting how we have better histories of North Korea than we do of Albania. Enver Hoxha was leader of 0ne of the most secretive Communist states and little is known outside Albania about his life.
The book covers his early life and evolution into the all powerful leader of Albania. Whilst some of the names are unfamiliar to many readers the corruption and abuse of power will be familiar to any students of communist history. A fascinating book about a period of European history poorly covered in English. Enver Hoxha has remained something of an enigma among the leaders of the none West aligned leaders of the European powers. Little serious scholarly study exists in English either of post-war Albania or its leadership.
That which did exist tended to suffer from a lack of reliable primary resource material and either sang the praises of heroic Comrade Hoxha or presented him as an arch demon. Blendi Fevziu, while no apologist for Hoxha, presents here probably the best English hxha biography of Enver Hoxha has remained something of an enigma among the leaders of the none West aligned leaders of the European powers.
Blendi Fevziu, while no apologist for Hoxha, presents here probably the best English language biography of Enver Hoxha based on a range of state archive documentation, interviews and diaries and letters of key actors. In this study Hoxha emerges as something of a “nonentity” in the early years of the formation of the Albanian Communist movement, a person who ‘made and impression by not making an impression’.
Neither a street activist or intellectual; rather someone whose lack of firm position or activism made him seem like a prime neutral candidate for filling a key Party post at a ever of internal division and strife. He is described as ‘manouver[ing] skillfully among the various communist leaders, gain[ing] their trust’ before eventually dispatching them often with a bullet in the style of his mentor Stalin.
Despite being a ‘nonentity’ Hoxha seems to have been recognised as a charismatic public speaker and as possessing good looks making him photogenic and attractive to the people. It is interesting to see how Hoxha was a beneficiary of the support of leading Albanian nationalists in his early years who helped him through an education he seemed to have no interest in then in finding employment he had little more time for. Despite the bits and pieces which have been scraped together here there remain tantalising gaps in the narrative many of which are probably thanks to Hoxhas efforts towards being economical with the truth at best and rewriting or erasing it where considered necessary.
The book certainly does not fevzou my curiosity about how a babe of a nation with no working class to speak of, a tribal society still in many respects, and a tiny intellectual community managed to give birth to a hoxhz and highly effective Communist Party led resistance movement which liberated the country from Nazi occupation. Zog spent years trying to cajole waring factions into a functioning modern state with limited success.
In contrast Hoxha seems to have mobilised and united an entire country and applied Lenninist lessons in breaking eggs to the extent that opposition became unthinkable, that and managing to impose upon his forces an effective command structure which the allies recognised as highly effective.
Nor is it really clear wnver the book where or when Hoixha really developed his knowledge of Marxism-Lenninism – a yard stick with which he measured all other regimes and found them to be wanting.
Enver Hoxha: The Iron Fist of Albania: Blendi Fevziu: Robert Elsie:
Interestingly at the 2nd plenary of the Communist Party of Albania a concerted effort was made to depose Hoxha with charges of ‘serious crimes committed within the Party, of envfr upon a sectarian and criminal course against his opponents, of constructing a cult of personality around himself, of keeping credit for achievements of the Party and more’.
With a combination of self-criticism and clever delay tactics Hoxha was able to take the wind out of the oppositions sails before dividing and disposing of them in what was by then time honoured fashion and remained so for his reign. Paranoia about enemies real and imagined seems to have dogged Envers rule with loyal friends and enemies dispatched in much the same way for deviations suspected or real, the trail of corpses is impressive as is their occasional rehabilitation, falling out of favour and rehabilitation along with exhumations and reburials according to their current status.
Interesting in particular is the account of the Stalin-Hoxha relationship where the idea that Stalin had any interest in Albania especially prior to the split with Tito is challenged and interestingly the criticisms of Stalin by Hoxha around the time of the 20th Congress of the CPSU including an article in the Party daily by Hoxha which stated ‘Stalin made some mistakes which cost the Soviet peoples and the cause of socialism dearly’.
One of the major inconsistencies of Enver’s reign seems to have been his tolerance of traitors and spies in his bleendi, as political tides changed so loyal comrades who had followed Hoxhas Party line found themselves sacrificed as spies and agents of imperialism, the British, the USA, Tito, the Soviet Union and eventually China too, while somehow Enver remained pure despite apparently by his own admission often being aware of traitors in his midst for many years.
The final chapters of the book examine the increasingly friendless Hoxha hodha he withdraws further from the world and the country he leads. There are interesting sections about life in the government complex and the stresses and strains on those living there and the false pleasantries and jockeying for survival within. Another chapter looks at Hoxhas increasing health problems and the fears this triggered concerning treatment.
The role of Nexhmije, his wife, in the power structure is also considered, her influence seems to have been greater than her testimony would have people believe especially as Hoxhas health declined. This book is certainly an important contribution to the literature boxha Enver Hoxha and Albania under his rule. It leaves a lot uncertain and unanswered but probably gets as close as we are likely to to an examination of the man and his mind, it unravels some of the questions but still leaves a host of others the answers to which he took to the grave.
As a study in power alone the book is worth reading. For anyone wanting to understand post-war Albania it is essential. This excellent biography demonstrates that like Stalin and Hitler, Hoxha rose from a socially insignificant background.
Like the other two dictators, Hoxha did all that he could to destroy torture, imprison, hodha often murder those who knew anything about his past, or even his rise to power.
Book Review: Enver Hoxha: The Iron Fist of Albania by Blendi Fevziu | LSE Review of Books
Unlike Hitler and Stalin, Hoxha was a prolific writer. His numerous volumes of autobiographical material were just about all that anyone could read about Hoxha until long after his death in Blendi Fevziu reveals much new information about the lfe of Enver Hoxha from interviews conducted after the fall of Communism in Albania in about and from documents and memoirs that have come to light since then. I visited Albania in Until I read Fevziu’s book, I had no idea what a dire state the country was in when I visited it.
Not only were the people suffering from political oppression, but also from starvation. However, never once during my 14 day trip did I get the impression that Albania was any more than a simple Balkan country where people were ohxha but contented. Everything that we tourists saw must have been engineered to look satisfactory, just like the so-called Potemkin Villages and Theresienstadt concentration camp when it was visited by the Red Cross.
This book, although very factual, is beautifully written, and reads like a gripping novel. Dec 14, Bledar rated it it was amazing. Besoj se libri eshte shkruar ne nje stil te qarte dhe te llogjikshem. Une hocha kisha te veshtire ta hiqja nga dora.
Enver Hoxha: The Iron Fist of Albania by Blendi Fevziu review – the People’s Republic tyrant
E vleresova autorin per bibliografine e shkruar dhe per faktin qe ai nuk lejonte qe te thoshte me shume se provat vertetonin sic ishte rasti i homoseksualitetit te pretenduar te Hoxhes. During this period, Albania became the last bastion of Stalinism in Europe.
The death of Stalin, inhad seen the end of Stalinism as a form of government elsewhere in Europe. He achieved this through executing his political opponents, or imprisoning them for long periods, and by evicting their families from their homes to remote fevzii which were strictly controlled. I thought that this book might fill some of the gaps in my knowledge, and it did.