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The Culture Of Lies: The Life Of Kenneth Tynan Paperback – 14 Sep 1998

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Paperback, 14 Sep 1998

Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: W&N (14 Sept. 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861591047
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861591043
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.2 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,985,607 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Book Description

A funny and cynical collection of essays, observations, and sketches denouncing the perversions of political and cultural life in Croatia. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The essays are fascinating. They communicate a sense of an overwhelming cultural trauma, not just because of the war itself but because of the whiplash speed of the changes as all the ex-Yugoslavs created new identities for themselves. Streets were renamed, history rewritten, the literary canon divvied up.

And it wasn't simply an assertion of a new positive identity for, for example, Croatia, it was necessarily a rejection not just of Serbia and Bosnia but of Yugoslavia. So the country where all of them had lived their whole lives, and which had been an imperfect but functional state for over 80 years, became a `prison of nations', and anyone who questioned this was suffering from the dangerously subversive `Yugo-nostalgia'.

The essays approach this central subject from various directions -- the metaphor of cleanness and cleansing, the relationship between eastern and western Europe, the kitschiness of nationalist aesthetics, pop music -- and they are all well-written, thought provoking and rather quotable.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Christine Luise Valentiner on 6 July 2004
Format: Paperback
With this book of essays Dubravka Ugrasic proves herself to be on a par with Joseph Brodsky. Her insights into the complex machinations of mankind amuses and compels in equal measure, making these thoughtful and conscientious musings stunningly moving.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 Oct. 2000
Format: Paperback
If you want to have a look into the modern day mind when it is grasped in the hands of a demagogue and a political situation that is spiraling into unfathomable nationalism, this is a good book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Ironic, melancholic, bitter humanism 26 Mar. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Although it has taken the English translation of this collection of essays a few years to come into print (it was first published in Dutch),this is a highly relevant, illuminating, and moving book. Most of the essays were written between '92 and '94, with more recent postscripts. With rare clarity and complexity of thought, gift of articulation, emotional courage and absence of pretence or squeamishness, Ugresic has carried out a highly accessible investigation into the Yugoslav war, the demise of communist Europe, the East-West polarity, the ambiguities of exile. With references to other East European writers and thinkers (Milan Kundera, Miroslav Krleja, Danilo Kis, Josiph Brodsky), she explores the tyranny of the new constructs of national identity in the Balkan states, the enforced collective amnesia of the former Yugoslavs, the many traumas of their history, as well as the common psycho-cultural lanscape of the 'Eastern block'. There are many deeply moving episodes and revealing insights here, delivered in the familiar 'Central European' style of ironic, melancholic, bitter humanism. Vaguely reminiscent of Milan Kundera, only better because of the lack of smugness and the final doubting humility of someone who has felt intense pain and articulated the nature of this pain.
21 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Sadly accurate 7 Mar. 2000
By Edward Bosnar - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dubravka Ugresic is perhaps less well-known in the English-speaking world than the other Croatian "dissident" writer Slavenka Drakulic, which is unfortunate. Both Ugresic's essays and especially fiction are far superior to that of Drakulic. "Culture of Lies" includes the author's observations of Croatian society and politics of the last ten years, both of which have been none too kind to her (indeed, while achieving great acclaim in other European countries, she was branded a "traitor" and worse by Croatian politicians and the pro-regime press for her uncompromising criticism of Croatian nationalism, etc.). In this book, Ugresic shows the many ways in which nationalism imbued all levels of society in Croatia, making people increasingly hostile to different views and people who were/are "different." Her particular area of interest is the way this was reflected in the behavior of intellectuals, who-at least one would like to think-are not supposed to be as susceptible to the appeal of God-and-country patriotism and nationalistic kitsch. Her description of an incident in a Zagreb tram, in which a young man accosts and beats an old destitute drunken man, is particularly vivid and sadly indicative. In fact, this whole section of the book, called "Souvenirs from Paradise" is an excellent collection of impressions and observations of the underside of Croatian life. Despite the recent sweeping political changes in Croatia, many of the negative aspects of society in this country as described by Ugresic are still here, and they will haunt this country for some time to come.
3 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Excilent help to understand how wars could be started 23 Aug. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
It tells truth of thousends of people manipulated with mass media on Balkans. If you want an expert book on how wars started in ex-yugoslavia you should read this one.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Excellent writing, insightful and thought provoking 10 May 2006
By Graciella - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This well-written book gives keen insight to events surrounding the dissolution of Yugoslavia while providing a view into the collective mind of former Yugoslavians. This book also makes one wonder about how nationalism is used, for better or worse, in other countries as a political vehicle to motivate its people to support specific ideals. While I agree with Ugresic's criticism of nationalism and the role it plays in post-Yugoslavian times, I also wonder if it is just a collective defense-mechanism, a means for survival when collective identity is being shattered. It is a fascinating read, well-written, and illuminating on many different levels.
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