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The Bridge on the Drina (Phoenix Fiction) Paperback – August 15, 1977


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Product Details

  • Series: Phoenix Fiction
  • Paperback: 314 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (August 15, 1977)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226020452
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226020457
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,193 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Serbo-Croation (translation)

About the Author

William H. McNeill is the Robert A. Millikan Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus in the Department of History and the College at the University of Chicago. In 2009 he was awarded the National Humanities Medal for his work as a teacher, scholar, and author. His many books include The Pursuit of Power, The Rise of the West, and Mythistory and Other Essays, all published by the University of Chicago Press. 


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Customer Reviews

All around, this was an enjoyable and enlightening read, and I highly recommend it.
D. D. LeDu
Not only does it help us understand the history of Bosnia, but --because it's a great literary work-- it provides us with insights into the human condition.
Dimostenis Yagcioglu
Andric really had a talent worthy of the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature, which he won for this book.
J. Pace

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

82 of 87 people found the following review helpful By Richard R on October 27, 1998
Format: Paperback
Readers who enjoyed "One Hundred Years of Solitude" will love this book, for while it is similar in feel to that masterpiece, it is broader in scope. Readers looking for insight into the labyrinth of Balkan history will find here a useful starting point. At heart, this is a book about civilization and its changes. It pivots upon the contrast between the small parochial existence of the quiet Bosnian town where the bridge is the central and everlasting feature versus the wider world of Balkan politics where Ottoman Turkey, Orthodox Serbia, and Catholic Austria-Hungary wage a centuries-long battle for political domination.
The book chronicles the bridge and the town for over three centuries. It is filled with memorable characters, soldiers, lovers, saloon-keepers, priests, and town leaders. There is the 19th-century schoolmaster who embodies the parochial village so perfectly. He is better-educated than most of the townspeople, but only slightly. This reputed wisdom gives him the arrogance to act as the town historian, a duty he fulfills by keeping a small notebook in which he fails to record historical events. Even the seminal affairs of 1878, when the region was transferred from the Ottomans to the Habsburgs, merits only a few lines in his notebook because he judges that these events are simply not terribly important. And that captures the essence of the book: events in the wider world are deemed unimportant in the village until they come, like the flood in the early pages, in a torrent of change and surprise.
Thus does the town evolve, isolated from, yet thoroughly buffeted by, the great historical affairs of the centuries. In the end Pavle the merchant finds that this myopic approach has led him to ruin.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By doc peterson VINE VOICE on January 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
The bridge on the Drina continues to stand witness to political changes in the Balkans while the ethnic mosaic of the region remains more or less static. Andric has done a remarkable job of explaining the intracies of Balkan society through his story. Using the bridge as an eyewitness to 500 years of history, we see the rise and fall of empires as a community of Serbs, Croats, Jews, Christians and Moslems live, love and work side by side.
Contrary to what the media would have us believe, the ethnic groups of the Balkans have not "hated one another for 500 years and will continue to do so." This book portrays Balkan life in a much more realistic manner than many newly published books on the subject have. If you are interested in the Balkans and are searching for a balanced view of what society was like before the current troubles, read this book. While it is fiction, the patterns of daily life, the social interactions and inter-ethnic relationships portrayed by Andric are right on the money. Little wonder this fabulous story was awarded the Pulitzer Prize when it first came out.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By J. Pace on July 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Ivo Andric and his "Bridge on the Drina" were an extremely great surprise. I truly did not expect to enjoy the book when I first picked it up. What I found was a rich treasure of Bosnian history. I understand that the work is fiction, but it seemed like such a true glimpse of history. Andric was a master of giving characters throughout the book that stoked the interest of the reader. The main character was the bridge itself. Everything and everyone else centered around this great old Turkish bridge. We see hundreds of years pass by over the reading of this book. Each of those new generations faces new challenges, from the days before a bridge existed, to the days of World War I. Everything in between gives detailed day to day experiences, intertwining generations and people. Andric really had a talent worthy of the 1961 Nobel Prize for Literature, which he won for this book. You owe it to yourself to get a copy and glimpse the past in a special way.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. Ragen on January 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Andric writes a fictional, yet truthful, history of the bridge at Visegrad which stood for centuries. The key to the book, from a reader interested in this from a more historical perspective rather than a literary viewpoint, is that the tensions between the different residents of Bosnia and Herzegovina are apparent. From the Turkish occupation to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the factions intertwine throughout the history of the town and the bridge. Although told, or translated, in a slow, laconic style, the writing was wonderful. The individual stories were well told and kept the history of the bridge moving forward.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit. After reading it, I felt that I understood this part of the world better -- and that I had a better perspective on my ancestors (Radenovic or Ragenovich) from Montenegro who emigrated to the US in the 19th century
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36 of 42 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1999
Format: Paperback
A lifelong Slavicist with particular love for the former Yugoslavia drove me to this book early in my studies of the Balkans. I read the book with no particular appreciation for what I was reading several years ago, and I recently reread it (it is definitely a book that warrants rereading for its attention to detail, its excellent descriptions, and its ability to shed light on the history of the Balkan region-- particularly for those, like me, who are not native to the region.) I traveled to the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Croatia) last year, and after having been there, I gained a whole new appreciation for this book. The most fitting way to describe it is to say that it is vivid, alive, and enduring. I loved it. It tells the story of a noble and fascinating people and culture.
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