Stephen Powell is a journalist who worked for Reuters for twenty-seven years. He has lived and worked on every continent except Antarctica and brings to his craft a deeply ingrained global perspective. His reporting has included war and coups in Africa and Brazil’s transition from military rule to democracy. He lives in the Brecon Beacons, in the town of Crickhowell.

The First Toast is to Peace: Travels in the South Caucasus brings alive a captivating part of the globe that the English-speaking world has been slow to appreciate. Stephen Powell, a British journalist, travelled through remote fastnesses in Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, and lost his heart to the Caucasus. The rugged beauty of the mountains, higher than the Alps, a strong sense of history and enduring traditions of hospitality give the region a flavour all of its own. Change came slowly to the Caucasus and in one part of
Georgia the men wore chainmail armour until the 1930s.

The First Toast is to Peace leads the reader through these complex lands with first-hand accounts of distant trails, forays into history and conversations with local people about their hopes for the future. The narrative provides answers to questions great and small. How is Stalin regarded today in his native Georgia? How do you reach Khevsureti by horse? What is life like in Europe’s forgotten war zone, Nagorno-Karabakh?

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