The underground Macedonian Revolutionary Organization recruited and mobilized over 20,000 supporters to take up arms against the Ottoman Empire between 1893 and 1903. Challenging conventional wisdom about the role of ethnic and national identity in Balkan history, Keith Brown focuses on social and cultural mechanisms of loyalty to describe the circuits of trust and terror—webs of secret communications and bonds of solidarity—that linked migrant workers, remote villagers, and their leaders in common cause. Loyalties were covertly created and maintained through acts of oath-taking, record-keeping, arms-trading, and in the use and management of deadly violence.
Introduction: The Archival Imagination at Work
1. Terminal Loyalties and Unruly Archives: On Thinking Past the Nation
2. The Horizons of the "Peasant": Circuits of Labor and Insurgency
3. The Oath and the Curse: Subversions of Christianity
4. The Archive and the Account Book: Inscriptions of Terror
5. The eta and the jatak: Inversions of Tradition, Conversions of Capital
6. Guns for Sale: Feud, Trade, and Solidarity in the Arming of MRO
Conclusion: The Archival Imagination and the Teleo-logic of Nation
Appendix 1. Documents of the Macedonian Revolutionary Organization
Appendix 2. Biographies from the Ilinden Dossier
Loyal unto Death is an innovative work that should inspire debate.
Loyal Unto Death is a fascinating account of an anti-imperialist struggle that pushes readers to think beyond the nation. It will serve as a powerful resource for both students and scholars embarking on historical ethnography . . . Likewise, the book will be extremely valuable for those working on revolutionary movements in search of strategies to draw out the lived experiences of underground movements.
[Keith Brown] takes as his central problem the question of how at the start of the twentieth century the Secret Macedonian-Adrianople Revolutionary Organization (MRO) was able to grow so rapidly from a tiny band of conspirators to an organization capable of fielding some 20,000 participants in the Ilinden uprising of 1903. 119.5
American Historical Review