Winner of the Los Angeles Times Book PrizePeter Maass went to the Balkans as a reporter at the height of the nightmarish war there, but this book is not traditional war reportage. Maass examines how an ordinary Serb could wake up one morning and shoot his neighbor, once a friend--then rape that neighbor's wife. He conveys the desperation that makes a Muslim beg the United States to bomb his own city in order to end the misery. And Maass does not falter at the spectacle of U.N. soldiers shining searchlights on fleeing refugees--who are promptly gunned down by snipers waiting in the darkness. Love Thy Neighbor gives us an unflinching vision of a late-20th-century hell that is also a scathing inquiry into the worst extremes of human nature. Like Michael Herr's Dispatches (also available in Vintage paperback), it is an utterly gripping book that will move and instruct readers for years to come.
A sweeping narrative history of Eastern Europe from the late eighteenth century to todayIn the 1780s, the Habsburg monarch Joseph II decreed that henceforth German would be the language of his realm. His intention was to forge a unified state from his vast and disparate possessions, but his action had the opposite effect, catalyzing the emergence of competing nationalisms among his Hungarian, Czech, and other subjects, who feared that their languages and cultures would be lost. In this sweeping narrative history of Eastern Europe since the late eighteenth century, John Connelly connects the stories of the region's diverse peoples, telling how, at a profound level, they have a shared understanding of the past. An ancient history of invasion and migration made the region into a cultural landscape of extraordinary variety, a patchwork in which Slovaks, Bosnians, and countless others live shoulder to shoulder and where calls for national autonomy often have had bloody effects among the interwoven ethnicities. Connelly traces the rise of nationalism in Polish, Austro-Hungarian, and Ottoman lands; the creation of new states after the First World War and their later absorption by the Nazi Reich and the Soviet Bloc; the reemergence of democracy and separatist movements after the collapse of communism; and the recent surge of populist politics throughout the region. Because of this common experience of upheaval, East Europeans are people with an acute feeling for the precariousness of history: they know that nations are not eternal, but come and go; sometimes they disappear. From Peoples into Nations tells their story.
Thomas Buergenthal, now a Judge in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, tells his astonishing experiences as a young boy in his memoir A Lucky Child. He arrived at Auschwitz at age 10 after surviving two ghettos and a labor camp. Separated first from his mother and then his father, Buergenthal managed by his wits and some remarkable strokes of luck to survive on his own. Almost two years after his liberation, Buergenthal was miraculously reunited with his mother and in 1951 arrived in the U.S. to start a new life.Now dedicated to helping those subjected to tyranny throughout the world, Buergenthal writes his story with a simple clarity that highlights the stark details of unimaginable hardship. A Lucky Child is a book that demands to be read by all.
Victoria Clark has the mind of a historian and the eye for detail possessed by the best novelists. In "Why Angels Fall, " she combines her gifts to give the reader a look at the sometimes mysterious world of Eastern Europe's Orthodox church. Majestic in their gilt encrusted robes and mitres, the Orthodox churchmen of Europe do convey a mysterious and arcane image. Combining history with contemporary detail, Clark traces the Orthodox faith through the embattled and fading world of late Byzantium to the present. Journeying through Greece, Russia, Macedonia, Romania, Cyprus, and the former Yugoslavia, Clark has met monks, nuns, bishops, and archbishops. Within a religion that traditionally has not accorded full status to women, Clark visits places that women have rarely been allowed to visit and asks questions that women have never before asked. Clark reveals an altogether different but equally engaging European legacy of worship with far-reaching consequences.
After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these "guests," and human names for the animals, it's no wonder that the zoo's code name became "The House Under a Crazy Star." Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story--sharing Antonina's life as "the zookeeper's wife," while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism. Winner of the 2008 Orion Award.
A New York Review Books OriginalThe distinguished Croatian journalist and publisher Slavko Goldstein says, "Writing this book about my family, I have tried not to separate what happened to us from the fates of many other people and of an entire country." 1941: The Year That Keeps Returning is Goldstein's astonishing historical memoir of that fateful year--when the Ustasha, the pro-fascist nationalists, were brought to power in Croatia by the Nazi occupiers of Yugoslavia. On April 10, when the German troops marched into Zagreb, the Croatian capital, they were greeted as liberators by the Croats. Three days later, Ante Pavelic, the future leader of the Independent State of Croatia, returned from exile in Italy and Goldstein's father, the proprietor of a leftist bookstore in Karlovac--a beautiful old city fifty miles from the capital--was arrested along with other local Serbs, communists, and Yugoslav sympathizers. Goldstein was only thirteen years old, and he would never see his father again. More than fifty years later, Goldstein seeks to piece together the facts of his father's last days. The moving narrative threads stories of family, friends, and other ordinary people who lived through those dark times together with personal memories and an impressive depth of carefully researched historic details. The other central figure in Goldstein's heartrending tale is his mother--a strong, resourceful woman who understands how to act decisively in a time of terror in order to keep her family alive. From 1941 through 1945 some 32,000 Jews, 40,000 Gypsies, and 350,000 Serbs were slaughtered in Croatia. It is a period in history that is often forgotten, purged, or erased from the history books, which makes Goldstein's vivid, carefully balanced account so important for us today--for the same atrocities returned to Croatia and Bosnia in the 1990s. And yet Goldstein's story isn't confined by geographical boundaries as it speaks to the dangers and madness of ethnic hatred all over the world and the urgent need for mutual understanding.
Best known for her classic book Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden, Eleanor Per nyi led a worldly life before settling down in Connecticut. More Was Lost is a memoir of her youth abroad, written in the early days of World War II, after her return to the United States. In 1937, at the age of nineteen, Per nyi falls in love with a poor Hungarian baron and in short order acquires both a title and a struggling country estate at the edge of the Carpathians. She throws herself into this life with zeal, learning Hungarian and observing the invisible order of the Czech rule, the resentment of the native Ruthenians, and the haughtiness of the dispossessed Hungarians. In the midst of massive political upheaval, Per nyi and her husband remain steadfast in their dedication to their new life, an alliance that will soon be tested by the war. With old-fashioned frankness and wit, Per nyi recounts this poignant tale of how much was gained and how much more was lost.
Leading specialists explore the impact both perestroika and glasnost have had on Soviet women as workers, consumers and political actors. They discuss the implications of reform for female labor, the falling percentage of female deputies and the position of women in the Ukraine. The authors also show how glasnost had helped to expose social problems while at the same time obscuring the role of girls in youth culture, creating images of irresponsible mothers and leading to the spread of pornography and anti-abortion sentiments.
Warsaw has an unenviable reputation in the minds of many: often invoked as the epitome of the brutal environment produced by Soviet aesthetics and planning, its name conjures up a grey, faceless world of tower blocks and Orwellian governmental buildings; its image - perhaps more so than that of any other city in the former Soviet block - inextricably tied to the fate of the Communist system. Warsaw appears to have been locked in the vice of history - crushed by one totalitarian system, remade by another, only now being liberated by market forces. The history of this power play is only one of the stories that can be told about the life and environment of Warsaw; however, to those who live there or know the city well, Warsaw can be an exciting and stimulating place.Avoiding the predictable pathways of conventional architectural and urban history writing, David Crowley reveals Warsaw's visual and urban cultural history through narrative and anecdote, telling stories of the everyday, albeit in extraordinary circumstances. Warsaw examines the ways in which the fabric of the city has been shaped by Communist ideology since the late 1940s, and shows how the city has been spectacularly transformed since the introduction of a market economy in 1989. It also reflects on the ways in which the citizens of Warsaw use and enrich their living areas and the city they inhabit. In Warsaw, the past runs deep, and buildings are marked by myths and curses. David Crowley acts as our guide through this scarred yet uplifting terrain.