Cover image for Croatia : a nation forged in war
Croatia : a nation forged in war
Tanner, Marcus, 1961-
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
New Haven ; London : Yale Nota Bene, [2001]

Physical Description:
xiii, 349 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps, portraits ; 20 cm
General Note:
Previous ed.: 1997.
Geographic Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DR1535 .T36 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



In this work an eyewitness to the break-up of Yugoslavia provides an account of the rise, fall and rebirth of Croatia from its mediaeval origins to the start of the 21st century. This edition is updated and follows Croatia's progress to democracy since the death of President Franjo Tudjman.

Author Notes

Marcus Tanner was Balkan correspondent of the London "Independent" from 1988 to 1994, and subsequently the paper's assistant foreign editor.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Rather than just focusing on the years since the break up of Yugoslavia, or the death of Tito, Tanner, correspondent for London's Independent has reached further back in history. In 1519, Pope Leo X described Croatia as the Antemurale Christianitatis, the "Ramparts of Christendom" and a little later, it was saddled by the Hapsburgs with a physical manifestation of that position, the Krajina, a border of castles manned primarily by Serbs. This swathe of militant Serbs would define much of the country's history, this, and it's long experience of foreign domination. There was constant tension with Hungary which claimed suzerainty over Croatia, and Tanner describes in great detail the unsuccessful attempts to Hungarianize Croatia. The South Slav movement of the late 19th century finally resulted in 1918 when Croatia became part of the South Slav Federation; however, by the mid-30s, old animosities between Serbs and Croats resurfaced. A few days after Germany declared war on Yugoslavia, the fascist Croatian nationalists, the Ustashe, began their brutal rule under the Nezavisna Drzava Hrvatska (Independent State of Croatia or NDH). During the NDH, the Serbs suffered huge losses‘though exactly how many died, is indeterminable with claims ranging from 50,000 to 600,000. Still when Tito (himself half-Slovene, half-Croatian) and his Partisans prevailed at the end of the war, they retaliated, killing at least 30,000 NDH soldiers. The final impression of this very accessible and consistently engrossing history is not optimistic. The brief period of Yugoslavian unity would seem to be an authoritarian anomaly, but for now, at least, division seems mandated by centuries of hatred. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

When Croatia declared itself an independent state in October 1991, the remnant of Yugoslavia reacted by invading and shelling towns such as Dubrovnik. Tanner was a correspondent in the Balkans from 1988 to 1993 for the London Independent and witnessed these events firsthand. His book covers the full recorded history of Croatia since the first Slav settlers in the seventh century A.D., but the period of World War II and after makes up half the work. No supporter of the Croats, Tanner presents incidents when they have behaved less than ideally. The narrative style is very sparse and condensed, presenting much detail in each chapter. A good survey of a region still much in the news, this work provides needed background for the current events in the region. For academic and larger public libraries.‘Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Tanner's book is a balanced, meticulously documented, and dispassionate account of Croatia's past and present, comparable to Noel Malcolm's similar treatment of Bosnia (Bosnia: A Short History, CH, Apr'95). Tanner covers all that one would expect in a work of this sort: the medieval establishment of Croatia, Croatia as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, resistance to the Ottomans, Croatia's role in the first Yugoslavia, the Ustashe collaborationist government, the Croatian Spring under communism, Franjo Tudjman's ascension to power, the recent war with Serbia, and the current situation. Tanner's assessment of this complex subject includes attention to incredibly detailed facts and the journalist's tendency to balance every interpretation with a contrary one; a clarity of prose in place of the usual historical jargon; and a palpable lack of the proverbial "ax to grind." This book is another example of nonhistorians, particularly journalists, writing better history books than historians. By far, the best book on the history of Croatia ever published. Excellent and extensive index. Strongly recommended for all levels. S. G. Mestrovi'c; Texas A&M University

Table of Contents

List of Illustrationsp. vi
Note on Spellingp. viii
Prefacep. ix
1 'The Unfaithful Croats'p. 1
2 Croatia Under the Hungariansp. 16
3 The Ramparts of Christendomp. 28
4 'The Remains of the Remains'p. 41
5 From Liberation to the French Revolutionp. 52
6 'Still Croatia Has Not Fallen'p. 66
7 1848p. 82
8 'Neither with Vienna Nor with Budapest'p. 94
9 'Our President'p. 108
10 The Sporazump. 127
11 The Ustashep. 141
12 'My Conscience Is Clear'p. 168
13 Croatian Springp. 184
14 'Comrade Tito Is Dead'p. 203
15 God in Heaven and Tudjman in the Homelandp. 221
16 'Serbia Is Not Involved'p. 241
17 'Danke Deutschland'p. 261
18 Thousand-Year-Old Dreamp. 275
19 'Freedom Train'p. 299
Notesp. 314
Selected Bibliographyp. 330
Indexp. 333