Cover image for Yugoslavia : a concise history
Yugoslavia : a concise history
Benson, Leslie.
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Publication Information:
Houndsmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire ; New York : Palgrave, 2001.
Physical Description:
xxix, 201 pages : maps ; 23 cm
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DR1246 .B464 2001 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Yugoslavia: A Concise History surveys the whole turbulent course of the country's history, in the context of the struggles between great powers for control of the Balkans. Torn apart by nationalist rivalries, the first Yugoslavia lapsed into paralysis and dictatorship. Axis occupation in 1941 unleashed a murderous civil war, in which the Communist Party emerged victorious. Tito's Yugoslavia appeared to the world as a peaceful, multi-national federation, but in the end disintegrated amid barbarism unknown in Europe for half a century. This revised and fully updated edition explains why, and takes the events up to the arrest of Milosevic in 2001and beyond.

Author Notes

LESLIE BENSON is Senior Lecturer in Politics and Sociology at University College Northampton.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

The fate of Yugoslavia (or what remains of Yugoslavia) can be seen as a wake-up call for the rest of Europe. After two world wars tional and international ethnic hatreds--it was often assumed that Europe had moved beyond such petty concerns. Yugoslavia, a melange of Croats, Serbs, Slovenes, and other minorities emancipated from the ruins of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires, seemed a success story. Yet, after the death of Tito, in 1980, the old ethnic hatreds emerged, stoked by opportunistic, nationalist politicians, including Slobodan Milosevic. Benson is professor of history at University College, Northampton, England, and his easily digestible and highly informative survey traces Yugoslav history from the birth of the nation after World War I to its ongoing dissolution over the past two decades. This is a fast-moving narrative history, which glosses over many cultural developments. However, Benson shows great insight in illustrating the historical and cultural factors that prevented true national unity from taking hold in this tortured land. --Jay Freeman

Choice Review

More books probably have been published in English on Yugoslavia in the past 12 years than during the country's entire history. Political scientists, journalists, historians, economists, anthropologists, and others have tried to explain why, when most of communist Eastern Europe underwent peaceful transitions to democracy and capitalism, Yugoslavia collapsed into war, genocide, and division into smaller nation-states. Many of these works have filled gaps in our knowledge of the histories of Yugoslavia and its peoples. British political scientist and sociologist Benson (Univ. College Northampton) has written a book for the general reader. Chapters 1-4 take the Yugoslavs from the 19th century to WW II. The writing here is lively, but facts occasionally suffer. Chapters 5-9 focus on Tito's Yugoslavia, Yugoslavia after Tito, and the collapse. These chapters are quite strong, particularly the sections on the confusing and ever-changing constitutional revisions, the way worker self-management actually functioned, and the official "myth" in the light of political and economic realities. The book ends in 2001 with the extradition of Slobodan Milosevic to The Hague for trial as a war criminal. This is a useful introduction to a complicated subject. General and undergraduate collections. E. M. Despalatovic emerita, Connecticut College

Table of Contents

Acknowledgementsp. viii
Notes on Serbo-Croatian languagep. x
Mapsp. xii
Glossaryp. xiii
Chronology of Eventsp. xv
1. Prologue: The Road to Kumanovop. 1
2. War and Unificationp. 21
3. The Brief Life of Constitutional Governmentp. 38
4. Encirclement and Destruction of the First Yugoslaviap. 57
5. War, Civil War and Revolutionp. 73
6. The Long March of Revisionismp. 94
7. Reform--and Reactionp. 111
8. The End of Titoismp. 132
9. Back to Kumanovop. 155
Notesp. 181
Bibliographyp. 191
Indexp. 197