Michael A. Sells, A very special book

Ivan Lovrenovic, Bosnia: A Cultural History, Saqi Books, London, 2001.

One of the stereotypes about Bosnia and the recent conflicts was the common complaint that the history and culture of the region were impossibly complex, incomprehensible. The stereotype furnished a convenient excuse for those who wished to acquiesce in the organized aggression and crimes and the country and its people.

This short book is the clearest, most accessible account of Bosnian culture, history, and identity available in English. It should be the first book read in any discussion ofBosnia. Each phase of history–from the medieval period to the tragic wars and genocide of 1992-1995–is depicted with concision, humanity, and depth. The writing is lucid and the stunning black-and-white photo-illustrations are integrated with care and sensitivity into the narrative. Recommended not only for those interested in Bosnia-Herzegovina only, but for those interested in European history, East-West relations, and the dynamic of religion, culture, and identity; i.e. to both specialists in the Balkans and to the wide readership of those interested in history and culture anywhere.

The reader will emerge with a sense not of incomprehensibility, but of the richness, vitality, and uniqueness of an extraordinary place and people.

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