#1 - Introduction and Chapter 1
Peaks of Shala
This book was published in 1923. From the author's own Introduction: "I would not have this book considered too seriously. It is not an attempt to untangle one thread in the Balkan snarl; it is not a study of primitive peoples; it is not a contribution to the world’s knowledge, and I hope no one will read it to improve the mind. It should be read as the adventures in it were lived, with a gayly inquiring mind, a taste for strange peoples and unknown trails, and a delight in the unexpected. Here I give you only what I saw, felt, and most casually learned while adventuring among the tribes in the interior northern Albanian mountains..."
Three brave American Zonyas (women) venture into the mountains of Northern Albania at a time not long after the Great War, when the boundaries (and even the right to exist) of the Balkan states were still hotly disputed. The author tells us why: "the people are living as they lived twenty centuries ago, before the Greek or the Roman or the Slav was ever known. There are prehistoric cities up there, old legends, songs, customs that no one knows anything about. No stranger’s ever even seen them."
What better reason to risk life, health, and limb?
(Summary by Steven Seitel)
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William Francis Butler