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Life and Death in the Balkans: A Family Saga in a Century of Conflict
Synopses & Reviews
Beginning some fifty years before the Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913, Bato TomaAevic's vivid memoir recounts, through his life story and the individual destinies of relatives and friends, Yugoslavia's numerous political upheavals and the harrowing experiences of the First and Second World Wars.
TomaAevic was born into a Montenegrin family in the politically charged region of Southern Yugoslavia. Beginning with his upbringing in Italian- and German-occupied Cetinje, TomaAevic tells a story of hardships and daily executions, the heroism of underground workers, and the effects of occupation on an ordinary family. At the age of thirteen, TomaAevic joined Tito's Partisans and experienced firsthand the horrors of the Second World War. He fought against the Chetniks and barely escaped death in Eastern Bosnia.
After studying law at Belgrade University, TomaAevic spent two years at Exeter. He became a Yugoslav diplomat and survived the Munich air crash of 1958. Following his diplomatic service, TomaAevic returned to Belgrade to work as a journalist and publisher. He describes the breakup of the Federation after Tito's death and the efforts by Serbian and Croatian nationalists to create a Greater Serbia and Greater Croatia through aggression and ethnic cleansing. TomaAevic's saga ends with NATO's bombing of Serbia in 1999 and the imprisonment of President MiloAevic. Fascinating, tragic, and even comic, Life and Death in the Balkans is the story of a young boy whose life, much like the history of Yugoslavia, has been characterized by inescapable violence and brutal conflict.
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