The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia

Timothy Judah, Author, Tim Judah, Author
Timothy Judah, Author, Tim Judah, Author Yale University Press $52 (368p) ISBN 978-0-300-07113-9
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-300-07656-1
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After a brief historical overview, Judah, formerly Balkan correspondent for the London Times, turns his focus to the past 100 years, and specifically, to the decades since WWII. During the 17th century, the Serbs (aided by Austria) waged almost continuous warfare against the Turks, eventually pushing the Turkish forces southward and recapturing Belgrade. But in the 20th century, Serbia (protected by Russia following the Russo-Turkish War) had a far dimmer view of Austrian interference in the region , particularly after Austria's annexation of the former Turkish provinces of Bosnia-Herzegovina--the step that eventually led to Gavrilo Princip's assassination of Austria's Archduke Ferdinand and WWI. The crisscrossing armies left Serbia, says Judah, as a mosaic of mini-states with much in common: they spoke the same language, looked alike and shared many customs. However there was one big line dividing them--religion. With Roman Catholics in the West, Eastern Orthodox Christians in the East and Muslims in the center, there was constant tension between the centrists and dispersionists. Even though the Serbs, more than any other group, were spread across Yugoslavia, Judah believes the breakup following Tito's death was inevitable. Judah's analysis of Serbia's history and the large cast of characters who shaped the country is complex, even tortuous at time, which can make for a tiring read. (Apr.)
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