A breathtaking book; it held my interest from beginning to end despite being over 1100 pages! This is surely the most exhaustive discussion and analysis of the Balkans I've ever encountered, exposing as it does both the ethnic complexities of the region and the root causes of its infamously persistent and often brutal internecine battles that have initiated several major wars. West is uncompromising in her denunciation of the evil roles that the surrounding nations, particularly the Austro-Hungarian, Turkish and Venetian imperial powers have played in oppressing the south Slavs and inciting the various clans toward violent, destructive internal conflict. Along the way, she explores the intricacies of cultural, linguistic and religious differences that pervade the former Yugoslavia. For example, she explains the difference between a Serb and a Serbian. West makes no attempt at "political correctness"; her bias toward the Serbian side of the struggles is out front, take it or leave it as the reader chooses.
A mesmerizing account of the author's travels through the young country of Yugoslavia. West's keen observations on world history, politics, and religion move this out of the travelogue category and into the realm of a magnum opus. There's no questioning the genius of this work: at over 1,000 pages, it's incredibly dense with the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the Balkan states, coloured by the looming spectre of Nazi Germany. One of the most rewarding books I've ever read.
P vizz... da 3 more books
This book is over 1000 pages and always has holds on it so cannot be renewed. I suggest the library order another copy or two.
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