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The Culture of Lies: Antipolitical Essays (Post-Communist Cultural Studies) Paperback – August 1, 1998

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is a collection of cynical but uniformly unbiased "antipolitical essays" portraying the reality of Communist and post-Communist Yugoslavia. Ugresic's (Have a Nice Day, LJ 3/1/95) intent is not to clarify the politics behind the fall of Yugoslavia but to question the definition of "Yugoslav identity" and critique its shattered culture. She firmly argues that, despite the fall of the Communist regime, the lives of former Yugoslavs in their new "independent homelands" haven't really changedAthey are still based on lies, intolerance, sexism, and political brainwashing. These essays, many of which have previously appeared in European newspapers and periodicals, will enrage and sadden you and then fill you with disgust toward narrow-minded nationalism. Ugresic defends her viewpoint skillfully and confidently, refusing to label herself with a "post-Yugoslav" nationality. After being vilified for her provocative writing, she left her native Croatia in 1993 and now lives in exile in Amsterdam. Highly recommended.AMirela Roncevic, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Serbo-Croation --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Post-Communist Cultural Studies
  • Paperback: 273 pages
  • Publisher: Pennsylvania State Univ Pr (August 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 027101847X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0271018478
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,200,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
Although it has taken the English translation of this collection of essays a few years to come into print (it was first published in Dutch),this is a highly relevant, illuminating, and moving book. Most of the essays were written between '92 and '94, with more recent postscripts. With rare clarity and complexity of thought, gift of articulation, emotional courage and absence of pretence or squeamishness, Ugresic has carried out a highly accessible investigation into the Yugoslav war, the demise of communist Europe, the East-West polarity, the ambiguities of exile. With references to other East European writers and thinkers (Milan Kundera, Miroslav Krleja, Danilo Kis, Josiph Brodsky), she explores the tyranny of the new constructs of national identity in the Balkan states, the enforced collective amnesia of the former Yugoslavs, the many traumas of their history, as well as the common psycho-cultural lanscape of the 'Eastern block'. There are many deeply moving episodes and revealing insights here, delivered in the familiar 'Central European' style of ironic, melancholic, bitter humanism. Vaguely reminiscent of Milan Kundera, only better because of the lack of smugness and the final doubting humility of someone who has felt intense pain and articulated the nature of this pain.
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21 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Edward Bosnar on March 7, 2000
Format: Paperback
Dubravka Ugresic is perhaps less well-known in the English-speaking world than the other Croatian "dissident" writer Slavenka Drakulic, which is unfortunate. Both Ugresic's essays and especially fiction are far superior to that of Drakulic. "Culture of Lies" includes the author's observations of Croatian society and politics of the last ten years, both of which have been none too kind to her (indeed, while achieving great acclaim in other European countries, she was branded a "traitor" and worse by Croatian politicians and the pro-regime press for her uncompromising criticism of Croatian nationalism, etc.). In this book, Ugresic shows the many ways in which nationalism imbued all levels of society in Croatia, making people increasingly hostile to different views and people who were/are "different." Her particular area of interest is the way this was reflected in the behavior of intellectuals, who-at least one would like to think-are not supposed to be as susceptible to the appeal of God-and-country patriotism and nationalistic kitsch. Her description of an incident in a Zagreb tram, in which a young man accosts and beats an old destitute drunken man, is particularly vivid and sadly indicative. In fact, this whole section of the book, called "Souvenirs from Paradise" is an excellent collection of impressions and observations of the underside of Croatian life. Despite the recent sweeping political changes in Croatia, many of the negative aspects of society in this country as described by Ugresic are still here, and they will haunt this country for some time to come.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
It tells truth of thousends of people manipulated with mass media on Balkans. If you want an expert book on how wars started in ex-yugoslavia you should read this one.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Graciella on May 10, 2006
Format: Paperback
This well-written book gives keen insight to events surrounding the dissolution of Yugoslavia while providing a view into the collective mind of former Yugoslavians. This book also makes one wonder about how nationalism is used, for better or worse, in other countries as a political vehicle to motivate its people to support specific ideals. While I agree with Ugresic's criticism of nationalism and the role it plays in post-Yugoslavian times, I also wonder if it is just a collective defense-mechanism, a means for survival when collective identity is being shattered. It is a fascinating read, well-written, and illuminating on many different levels.
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