History of the Balkans may have influenced Bill Clinton

UNLIKE many, Robert Kaplan has eschewed social media – nor does he enjoying discussing himself.

So the fact that one of the greatest chroniclers of modern history has agreed to speak to the Jewish Telegraph is something of a coup.

“I am most proud of the fact that I’ve always tried to stay serious,” Robert tells me from his home in the Berkshires, Massachusetts.

“I’ve never got into tweeting, Facebook or television, or anything like that.

“Instead, I wrote one book after another, even if many of those books did not sell so well.”

His voluminous bibliography is testament to his words.

From being embedded with American soldiers in Iraq to writing about purveyors of history in his best-selling Balkan Ghosts and documenting his journeys through communist and post-communist Romania, the writer and journalist has led a remarkable life — but remains modest about his work.

Robert said: “My books mean a lot to me, and it meant that I was able to make a living and bring up a family.

“They have not made me wealthy in any sense of the word, but they allowed me to make a living.

“I stayed serious and that is something I can take away with me.”

In his latest tome, Adriatic: Concert of Civilizations at the End of the Modern Age (Random House), he turns his perceptive eye to a region that for centuries has been a meeting point of cultures, trade, and ideas.

Robert journeyed around the Adriatic Sea, through Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania and Greece, to reveal that far more is happening in the region than most news stories let on.

WITH a pair of international friendlies now behind them, the Israeli Football Association has a lot of soul-searching to do as they head into UEFA Nations League action in the summer.

Yossi Benayoun, who was recently appointed as the national team’s technical director, will be a busy man over the next month as he looks to hire a new coach.

The former Israeli international must have that person in place sooner rather than later and has set a 30-day deadline to do so.

The selection of the head coach will be crucial should Israel want to compete at the highest levels, a place that they have been striving to reach since the last time they participated in an international tournament — the 1970 World Cup in Mexico.

Former Liverpool and West Ham United midfielder Benayoun replaced Austrian Willi Ruttensteiner who, during his four years of service to the IFA, definitely made inroads in numerous areas, including advancing some of the country’s younger talents at the senior and junior national team levels.

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