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West wrote on the brink of World War II, when she was "already convinced of the inevitability of the second Anglo-German war." The resulting book is colored by that impending conflict, and by West's search for universals amid the complex particulars of Balkan history. In the end, she saw the region's doom--and our own--in a double infatuation with sacrifice, the "black lamb and grey falcon" of her title. It's the story of Abraham and Isaac without the last-minute reprieve: those who hate are all too ready to martyr the innocent in order to procure their own advantage, and the innocent themselves are all too eager to be martyred. To West, in 1941, "the whole world is a vast Kossovo, an abominable blood-logged plain." Unfortunately, little has happened since then to prove her wrong. --Mary Park --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
This might be the best way to read the book.
Rebecca West writes about her tour through Yugoslavia except Slovenia in the late 1930s,in great detail; combining history, legend, geography and her opinions.
As brilliant as this book is, however, it will not be to every reader's taste, even those who want to explore the history of the Balkans in depth.
This is a very long book that I read a chapter at a time. It remains, a judged by a search about the history of the balkans, still the premier source of information about the... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Senator James W. Squires
Rebecca West brings so much of then current politics, history, social observation, and wry humor as well as a profound love for the country as she travels through Yugoslavia, that... Read morePublished 2 months ago by A Reader
One of my favorite writers from an age when writers looked at communicating both the written and spoken word as a mission akin to the Holy Grail on a topic dear to my heart .Published 3 months ago by MIra Jovanovic
This book is a classic. I traveled in the Balkans last spring and read this wonder as I traveled, not finishing until I got home. Read morePublished 5 months ago by R. Ahmanson
Still a useful read for understanding the tensions, animosities, and cultural differences in the region formerly comprising Yugoslavia.Published 5 months ago by Barbara DeLouise
art, history, philosophy, theology, literature and a love of the south Slaves make this a must read.Published 6 months ago by jooseph