In This Review

The Artful Albanian: The Memoirs Of Enver Hoxha
The Artful Albanian: The Memoirs Of Enver Hoxha
Edited by Jon Halliday
Chatto & Windus, 1986, 394 pp.

For more than 40 years Hoxha was Number One in Albania, Europe's most isolated and insulated country, virtually cut off from the West and cutting itself off, successively, from its partners and patrons in the communist world: Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and finally China. He was, apparently, a busy writer all those years, and in the 1970s a flood of published material in the form of diaries, reports and memoirs presented his version of his country's experience. He had no special affinity for the truth. His works are dominated by the theme of Albania as the one true Marxist regime and had the purpose of justifying himself and denigrating his enemies (who included, on the domestic side, most of his colleagues, and, internationally, Tito, Khrushchev, Brezhnev and Mao). The only communist leader he liked and admired was Stalin. Nevertheless, with all the necessary reservations, the accounts of conversations which the editor has selected for this volume are both fascinating and revealing. He interlards them with extensive comments and notes which constitute a running history of postwar Albania.