A mix of on-the-spot reportage, history and analysis, well-researched and proof-read and conveying a sense both of immediacy and of a wider perspective. A stylish and highly readable account by an experienced journalist. His presentation is nuanced, focused, and rich with motifs that he follows from the Middle Ages to the present. Judah's excellent book stands out in a cluttered field, offering the key to Serbia's behavior over the past decade.
The Serbs : history, myth, and the destruction of Yugoslavia
Irwin, Library Journal. In addition, his treatment of Serbian history was also thorough and clever. Judah weaves together a rich tapestry of historical Serbian myths, and demonstrates their current applicability in Serbian national thought, and as motivating factors in the Yugoslav crisis.
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- The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia.
The story he tells does much to explain both the Serb obsession with the treachery of outsiders and their quasi-religious faith in the eventual founding, or rather reestablishment, of the Serbian state. The entire book is very readable and tells a compelling story. Judah cleverly interprets Serbia's sad present in the light of its past. Each gives a good historical survey and an account of the war's causes.
A fine, impartial study which deserves to be translated into Serbo-Croat and will surely be consulted long after the present conflict abates. It is one of the best attempts to explain a situation which has baffled the West throughout history.
Judah's book is a polemical attempt to counter the 'demonisation' of the Serbs. But it is far from being a whitewash: with very few exceptions, he successfully walks the tightrope between 'balance' and relativisation. Skip to main content.
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Charles Simic reviews ‘The Serbs’ by Tim Judah · LRB 31 July
This history of the Serbs opens with the medieval kings of Serbia and a battle lost six centuries ago that still profoundly influences the Serbs. It then describes the idea of Serbdom and examines the tenuous ethnic balance fashioned by Tito and its drastic unravelling after his death. Get A Copy. Paperback , Second Edition , pages.
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Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. Jul 09, Murtaza rated it really liked it. A solid and even-handed history of the Serbian people from antiquity until the end of Yugoslavia. Who would've thought that such a small people would have such a grand idea of their historical destiny? The Greater Serbia ideology that led to the s war has deep roots going back into medieval history. Serbia has seen itself as a repressed empire, but its attempt to enact its imperial project ended in disaster.
The Serbs putative Russian friends along with other Europeans have frequently dismis A solid and even-handed history of the Serbian people from antiquity until the end of Yugoslavia. The history sections could have used some editing but there was some really great reporting at the end of this book about the wars; unique stuff which is not easy to find elsewhere.
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The author strikes a good balance between condemning the psychopathic crimes of the Serbian paramilitary war machine and recognizing the suffering both historical and contemporary that Serbs have also undergone. It strongly comes across how avoidable the war was and how little it had been based on "ancient hatreds," although embers of such hatred did exist in enough abundance for unscrupulous politicians to fan them.
A brief note about the cover to my edition: I found it unfair that a history of a people should be represented with an image of them as kidnapping bandits keeping blindfolded hostages.
Although this is certainly a part of their history it seems a low way to sum it up, though I suppose it does capture the global perception of Serbia during the s and to a lesser extent today. View 2 comments.
History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia
Nov 21, Lucinda rated it it was ok. I stopped reading this book soon after the astoundingly stupid line, "His control over the empire disintegrated after his death. View 1 comment. Jul 30, Stefan rated it liked it Shelves: history , read-in-english , serbia. Very good book on the history of the Serbs and the background of the Balkan wars of the 90's written by a British journalist who worked and lived in Yugoslavia for several years as a Balkan correspondant.
It was written before the Kosovo war, which makes it interesting. He has continued to consolidate his reputation since, and is one of the few journalists who understands the social, political and economic dynamics of the region and, more importantly can convey those complexities with clarity. Unlike so many books written about the history of Serbia and the disintegration of the Yugoslav state, The Serbs is both bold and balanced.
While so many of the books which emerged in the mid to late s tended to offer a simplistic, one-dimensional, even biased, interpretation of the conflicts, Judah adopted a more balanced approach, placing events within a wider historical context whilst not shrinking from strong, objective criticism. As a witness to many of the events discussed, Judah has avoided being trapped by the emotive nature of events. Instead, he blends the immediacy of journalistic reportage with the sharp observations of the seasoned analyst and fast-moving narrative; the crisp and vivid description of the political ambience which prevailed in Serbia during the late s and early s, and his evocation of the dark days of the war in Bosnia, makes for an engaging read.
Unlike the previous two editions, it brings the story full circle the first edition, for example, essentially ended with the immediate aftermath of the Bosnian war and ends on a positive note, with Serbia on the cusp of a brighter future.