The Impossible Country: A Journey Through the Last Days of Yugoslavia

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9780140249231: The Impossible Country: A Journey Through the Last Days of Yugoslavia

This is a privileged glimpse of the former Yugoslavia from within, one that gets behind journalistic accounts to present the intimate hatreds, prejudices, aspirations, and fears of its citizens. American journalist Brian Hall spent the spring and summer of 1991 traveling through Yugoslavia, even as the nation was crumbling in his footsteps. Having arrived a week after the catalytic May 2 massacre at Borovo Selo, he watched as political solutions were abandoned with dizzying speed, and as Yugoslavia's various ethnicities, which had managed to reach a point of tolerant coexistence, tipped into the violence of civil war. Hall, one of the last foreigners to travel unhindered through the region, has captured the voices of both the prominent and the unknown, from Serbian demagogue Slobodan Milosevic and Bosnian leader Alija Izetbegovic to a wide variety of everyday Serbs, Croats, and Muslims: real people, likeable people, as he says, who have been pushed by rumor and propaganda into carrying out one of the most intense and brutal ethnic conflicts in world history. At the same time, he provides the indispensable historical background, showing how the country called Yugoslavia was cobbled together after World War I, tracing the ethnic cleansing practices that have marked the area for centuries, and explaining why every attempt at political compromise has met with such suspicion and resistance. With a sharp eye and flawless ear, Brian Hall has caught a unique moment in history in a book that is superbly researched, beautifully written, funny, fascinating, and poignant.

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Product Description:

An account of the journey made by the author through Yugoslavia in the spring and summer of 1991, as Croatia and Slovenia were sliding into civil war. Recalls the attitudes of the people drawn from conversations Hall had with farmers, artists, defence fighters and politicians. First published in 1994.

From the Back Cover:

'Here is art which conceals art, and intellect which conceals intellect, so that by the end of the book one feels that one understands something one had not understood before. Mr Hall is witty and amusing, but not snide; he has a lightness of touch which allows him to write of extremely serious matters without solemnity; he knows how to convey a great deal in a few words' Sunday Telegraph

'He is an observant and witty writer...you believe implicitly that he has met the people he writes about, and that they said what he quotes them as saying' Sunday Times

'The Impossible Country...is much more than travel literature. Hall may be reporting on the context of the war rather than the events, but he is reporting nonetheless. His rich grasp of history and sense of argument take his writing beyond its genre' Literary Review

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