A dazzling short history of the Balkans from the Romans to the present, which provides vital historical and cultural background to contemporary Balkan politics.
From the Publisher
Roy Foster explains why this is one of his favourites...
This is the kind of history that takes you straight to conclusions, with a swift and startling demonstration of event and effect, rather than painstakingly rehearsing every step of the way. It is a short and elegant book, but the variety of sources quoted and the breadth of reference show the author's unassuming control over his fractious subject.
Mazower demonstrates how recent the concept of 'the Balkans' is, and how freighted with preconceptions. He traces the geographical, demographic and political pressures which carved out interdependent but antagonistic political units; in the process he suggestively redefines our ideas of 'Europe', especially regarding its Ottoman dimension.
The reflections on subjects as diverse as the continuity of Byzantine culture, the fate of 'post-peasant' societies in the age of tourism, the uses of ecumenism (and occultism), and the relationship of nationalism and globalisation make this book far larger than its narrow covers suggest; the epilogue alone, 'On Violence', should be required reading for all students of modern history.
It takes as its epigraph the remark made by an Ottoman official to a French priest in 1848. 'When I travelled in Europe, I saw everywhere things I did not particularly like. Fine - I did not say, "That is no good." I wanted to know why things were thus.' Mazower himself is faithful to this precept, and it is one of the reasons why he has written a modern classic.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.