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True Stories from Red Albania

The prestigious TOENA Publishing House in Tirana, in October 2016, released a new book in English: True Stories from Red Albania, by Jorgji Kote.

It is an abbreviated English version of his previous book Nw Vetrrethim (In Self-Encirclement), published in 2012.  

The book was launched at the International Book Fair on 10 November 2016 at the Palace of Congresses in Tirana. In the presence of the author, the General Director of the Toena Publishing House, Irena Toçi, and the well-known Professor of Political Sciences, Mirela Bogdani, spoke about the work.

True Stories from Red Albania is an account of events and episodes from real life in Albania during the period of self-imposed isolation from 1945-1990. The 65-year-old diplomat well knows this bitter subject: he lived for 38 years under the totalitarian system, working as a teacher, interpreter to foreign delegations and tourists, civil servant in foreign trade and other areas.

In only 136 pages, the author covers, in vivid and colourful style, major moments from the lives of children, friends and neighbours, young people, arts and literature, religion and forced atheism in the 1960s, political 'mini-tourism' - as he calls it - foreign trade, the  attempts of the former regime to become the “red lantern of socialism” in the world and its support for the communist Marxist-Leninist movement, and other intriguing aspects of life during those hard times. He does not fail to describe, in both tragic and comic tones, the grave mistakes, absurdities, the punishment of genuine intellectuals and all those who tried to speak with a different voice in the highly politicised society of that time. 

Apart from several true stories, episodes, and some of the well-known political jokes of that time, the author also offers some of the best “success stories” of Albanians of all ages, young and older, mainly in Belgium where the author has been working as a diplomat, but also in Germany, the United States and elsewhere. 

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