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Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood Hardcover – 1 Jan 1996
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Brilliantly captures the sense of civilian Sarajevo heroism its pluck, irony, stoicism . . . [By] focusing on one Sarajevo street, Demick is able to evoke the reality of life in the city with accuracy and nuance. David Rieff, The Philadelphia Inquirer
[A] beautifully rendered portrait of Sarajevo. Mark Danner, The New York Review of Books
Barbara Demick shapes the history of one city street into a small masterpiece. Jim Dwyer, columnist, The New York Times
If you can read only one book about Bosnia, this should be the one. Mary McGrory, syndicated columnist, The Washington Post
Take a walk on Logavina Street you ll learn a lot about the heroism and courage of the human race. Georgie Anne Geyer, columnist and author, Universal Press Syndicate"
-Brilliantly captures the sense of civilian Sarajevo heroism--its pluck, irony, stoicism . . . [By] focusing on one Sarajevo street, Demick is able to evoke the reality of life in the city with accuracy and nuance.---David Rieff, The Philadelphia Inquirer
-[A] beautifully rendered portrait of Sarajevo.---Mark Danner, The New York Review of Books
-Barbara Demick shapes the history of one city street into a small masterpiece.---Jim Dwyer, columnist, The New York Times
-If you can read only one book about Bosnia, this should be the one.---Mary McGrory, syndicated columnist, The Washington Post
-Take a walk on Logavina Street--you'll learn a lot about the heroism and courage of the human race.---Georgie Anne Geyer, columnist and author, Universal Press Syndicate
"Brilliantly captures the sense of civilian Sarajevo heroism--its pluck, irony, stoicism . . . [By] focusing on one Sarajevo street, Demick is able to evoke the reality of life in the city with accuracy and nuance."--David Rieff, The Philadelphia Inquirer
"[A] beautifully rendered portrait of Sarajevo."--Mark Danner, The New York Review of Books
About the Author
Barbara Demick is the Beijing bureau chief for the Los Angeles Times and author of Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, which won the 2010 BBC Samuel Johnson award, the U.K.'s top non-fiction prize. A foreign correspondent for more than 15 years, she has covered China, Korea, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. Her coverage of Sarajevo for the Philadelphia Inquirer won the Robert F. Kennedy award, the Polk Award and was a finalist for the Pulitizer. Demick's work has also appeared in the New Yorker and the Paris Review.
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By all means, fans of Demick's writing should get their hands on this new paperback edition. Her original narrative ends in mid-1995. The new paperback features a new chapter, 'Return to Logavina Street,' which has a 2011 coda to the story. That chapter, plus a new epilogue, bring a new perspective to her work. I especially liked this passage from the 'Return' chapter (about her June 2011 visit):
"Since the 90s I have been back to Sarajevo twice, once in 2007 and more recently in 2011. Each time, I was struck by how much it looked and felt the same. Now that I'm living in Asia, I'm accustomed to dynamic cities constantly reinventing themselves. When I leave Beijing for a holiday, I come back to find the building next door demolished and new skyscraper rising in my backyard. Not Sarajevo. The city is timeless, almost immutable. Along the stone alleys of the Bascarsija, the jewellers are tapping away behind shopfronts with the same names: Kasumagic, Cengic. Even the music is the same 1980s technopop. So little has changed on Logavina Street that I can almost navigate my way with my eyes closed."
Like in 'Nothing to Envy,' Demick's winning technique is to crystallize the story from the large and complex down to the personal. In the North Korea book, we saw that country and its truths through the eyes of six defectors. Here, we see the Sarajevo siege through the eyes of the residents of one famous street. It's a work that - despite the passage of 17 years - has relevance today with the recent capture and ongoing trials of Radovan Karadzic' and Ratko Mladic'.
Moreover, even today, Demick portrays a 'peace' that is shaky at best. She notes that "[e]vents that might lead to another war are easy to imagine: if Republika Srpska tries to secede from Bosnia..." She quotes think tank International Crisis Group's ominous conclusion: "[I]f Srpska's leaders continue driving every conflict with Sarajevo to the brink, as they have done repeatedly to date, they risk disaster. The agility of leaders and the population's patience need only fail once to ignite serious violence."
For me, Barbara Demicks' books are thought provoking and not easily forgotten. This book enlightens and informs us about ordinary people and families who were just living their lives and who were caught in a rapidly changing and dangerous situation. I appreciate that the book took many years to conduct interviews and gather information.
Highly recommend this book.
If a large scale history is what you're after, his book will offer enough to get started but focuses its energy on bringing the victims to life. I had a problem with some of the word choices that didn't distract the experience but were wrong. Notably is the usage of the term sniper. It's used liberally as if it he best way to describe someone shooting another. It does offer a hint of intimacy, it's not always the best or proper way to describe a machine gunner shooting kids.
I will be recommending this book to anyone who wants to know more about the cruelty of war and politics. And also as a way to boast the strength of a unified city.