From Library Journal
An independent scholar living in Washington, DC, Anzulovic interprets Serbia's violent history as a consequence of historical legacies: Saint Sava's mystical identification of the church and nation, glorified killing in such works as Petar P. Njego s's Mountain Wreath (1986), and the "pagan-tribal ethos" of the Balkans and of Serbia in particular. The book's strength consists of illustrating a national ideology woven from myth and historical episode. Indeed, its title derives from the 1389 Battle of Kosovo Polje, in which a messenger from Saint Elias offered Prince Lazar a "heavenly kingdom" in accepting Serbian defeat. Anzulovic posits the revitalized myth promoted by Orthodox clergy, popular writers, and urban intellectuals as the source of the recent genocidal war. Although acknowledging policies imposed from without, the author overlooks Serbia's experience as a victim of past aggression. Likewise, the "many" Serbs who want a life of peace and toleration are only passingly recognized. Nevertheless, the book's grasp of Serbian culture extends far beyond the superficial "ancient hatreds" thesis of Balkan war. Scholars will find it a good companion to Timothy Judah's more general The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia (LJ 3/15/97). Recommended for academic and larger public libraries.AZachary T. Irwin, Pennsylvania State Univ., Erie
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"In a timely, scholarly work, Branimir Anzulovic brings the two theories together in Heavenly Serbia. He shows how history, religion, myth, and folklore intertwined to lay the groundwork; and how Slobodan Milosevic, a former Communist Party technocrat turned highly skilled manipulator, invoked the past to incite Serbs to create a larger and ethnically pure ‘Greater Serbia.’...All in all, though, the book goes a long way in helping the reader understand the 'hows' and 'whys' of what is happening in the Balkans today."
-Faye Bowers,Christian Science Monitor
"The book's grasp of Serbian culture extends far beyond the superficial 'ancient hatreds' thesis of Balkan war."
-Zachary T. Irwin,Pennsylvania State University, Erie
"Modern Serbian nationalism...and its contradictory connections...have been sources of considerable scholarly interest...Branimir Anzulovic's compendium is a good example of the genre, made all the more useful by Anzulovic's excellent command of the literature."
-Ivo Banac,History of Religions
"The book's strength consists of illustrating a national ideology woven from myth and historical episode."