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Croatia: A Nation Forged in War Paperback – 21 May 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 3rd Revised edition edition (21 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300163940
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300163940
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 296,122 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'Readable and stimulating... Long-overdue corrective to the onesidedly negative view long entertained about Croatia by the educated British public.' Times Higher Education Supplement. 'Lucid and accessible.' Melanie McDonagh, Evening Standard. --'Times Higher Education Supplement', 'London Evening Standard'

About the Author

Marcus Tanner was Balkan correspondent of the London 'Independent' from 1988 to 1994 and subsequently the paper's assistant foreign editor. He is also the author of 'Ireland's Holy Wars: The Struggle for a Nation's Soul, 1500-2000', 'The Last of the Celts' and 'The Raven King: Matthias Corvinus and the Fate of his Lost Library', all published by Yale University Press.

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In the village of Nin, where the dry rocky Karst of the Dalmatian hinterland meets the Adriatic Sea, stands a small, cruciform church. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By lavvocato on 1 Aug. 2004
Format: Paperback
This book was in my shopping basket for almost a year before I finally bought it. My hesitation was due to accusations of pro-Croat bias in some of the reviews above. Having now read the book, I wish to defend the author and, not being of Serb, Croat or any other ex-Yugoslav origin, perhaps I am better qualified to opine on the matter than some of the reviewers below.
This is an absorbing and well-written account of a country which, although largely unknown in the UK before 1991, has a rich and fascinating history. It had a centuries-long relationship with Hungary and the Hapsburg Monarchy and it was on the front-line in the wars against the Ottoman Empire. Dubrovnik was an independent maritime republic with a remarkable capacity for survival - in fact, it took Napoleon to bring it to an end. The controversy in Croatia's history starts in 1918, when Croatia was absorbed (more or less voluntarily, although they soon regretted it) into what then became Yugoslavia.
With the bitterness of the war in the early 1990's still fresh in people's minds, it is, perhaps, impossible to write a book on this subject that both Serbs and Croats would regard as objective. However, the suggestion that this book is a pro-Croatian polemic is quite unfair. There is no attempt here to conceal or gloss over massacres of Serbs or Bosnians or other war crimes perpetrated by Croats. Neither does the author pull any punches in dealing with Croatia's contemptible efforts to carve up Bosnia with Serbia or the massive ethnic cleansing of Serbs that followed the recapture of the Krajina in Operation Storm. Croatia's "Father of the Nation", Franjo Tudjman, does not, in fact, come through as a particularly savoury character in this book, by any standards.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 26 Feb. 1999
Format: Hardcover
By his own account, British journalist Marcus Tanner did not set out to write a history of Croatia from the seventh century. He intended to write an account of the recent war with the Serbs. However he found he could not do so without locating the seeds of the conflict in the 1940s, which are rooted in the politics of the 1920s, which were engendered by the nationalism of the 1840s, and so on. What he ultimately produced is a useful 300-page overview of Croatian history. And he still managed to write about the recent war, devoting 80 pages to events since 1990.
The common view that Tanner is not sufficiently critical of unsavory elements in Croatia's past is justified. His discussion of the horrors of the World War II-era Jasenovac concentration camp is cursory; he comments on the main political football - the debate about the numbers and identities of the victims - but fails to describe the political context surrounding the camp or the lives of the people within it. His praise for Tudjman as a noble, if overzealous, nationalist who successfully steered his country to the fruition of the 'thousand-year-dream' is insufficiently honest about his neo-fascist and sometimes nonsensical policies. Today Tudjman's HDZ party is a quasi-democratic regime rooted in corruption and repression. The war is over, the Croats won. Now is the time for nurturing democratic institutions.
From a journalist with such a tactile understanding of the region, "Croatia" includes few of the primary source interviews and observations that were so interesting and enlightening in other recent books about the Balkans by British journalists (Misha Glenny, Laura Silber). Instead Tanner weaves together secondary sources and analyses by other experts.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian R. Martin TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 July 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book tells the story of the Croats and the country we now call Croatia over a vast period of more than a thousand years. It is a history of a people and region little known or thought about in the west until the twentieth century. It is a violent tale, and the subtitle of the book - A Nation Forged in War - is very apt. The first third of the book is a straightforward history and covers the period up to the start of the twentieth century. It is largely an account of power and territorial struggles between a bewildering array of tribal and family groups, kings and other rulers, and various ecclesiastical authorities during the centuries-long interactions with the Hapsburg and Ottoman Empires. It is clear and well written, and is a useful introduction to the history of the region and its peoples, but complex, and I would need to read it again to take in all the details. It also provides a good background, and helps one understand, the second part of the book, which for me, and I suspect most readers, is the more interesting. This covers the modern period, including of course the disastrous wars of the early 1990s.

Some reviewers on Amazon have accused the author of being biased in favour of the Croats in his description of the causes of the wars and the action of Croats during them, but on the evidence of this book, I find it difficult to agree with those views.
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