The Balkans

The Balkans

Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804-1999

eBook - 2000
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From the bestselling author of McMafia and DarkMarket comes this unique and lively history of Balkan geopolitics since the early nineteenth century which gives readers the essential historical background to more than one hundred years of events in this war-torn area. No other book covers the entire region, or offers such profound insights into the roots of Balkan violence, or explains so vividly the origins of modern Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, and Albania. Now updated to include the fall of Slobodan Milosevic, the capture of all indicted war criminals from the Yugoslav wars and each state's quest for legitimacy in the European Union, The Balkans explores the often catastrophic relationship between the Balkans and the Great Powers, raising some disturbing questions about Western intervention.

Publisher: New York : Viking, 2000
ISBN: 9781770892743
Branch Call Number: Online eBook
Characteristics: 1 online resource
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


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Aug 31, 2013

This is wonderfully well-written account of Balkan history from the First Serbian Uprising in 1804 to the NATO aggression against rump Yugoslavia in 1999. The author makes a convincing case that the Great Powers as much as ethnic antagonisms are to blame for a lot of the bloodshed in the 19th and 20th centuries.

It seems almost churlish to criticize such a well-told story, but with a little more work it could have been a better book. All Balkan names are appropriately accented, but there is no guide provided on just what these Albanian, Romanian or Turkish accents mean. By contrast the Hupchick history provides a convenient pronunciation guide for all the major Balkan languages.

Glenny defines the Balkans more as the former Turkey in Europe than as Southeastern Europe, only bringing regions like Croatia, Slovenia, Transylvania and Vojvodina into the story when they intersect with the core region of his history. Especially with respect to the Croats this seems like a dubious choice. They are big players in the second half of the book, but just flit in and out of the first half. I think it would have been better to have treated the Balkans as consisting of the countries that in 1989 were Albania, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, and Yugoslavia, ignoring the remaining Turkish part of Europe except to the extent that Turkish developments affected the other countries.

Even Bulgaria and Romania, which are supposed to be at the core of his story, just drift out of it long before the end of the century.It makes you wonder if near the end of his vast project, Glenny didn't just lose interest in big chunks of it.

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