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The Suitcase: Refugee Voices from Bosnia and Croatia Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0520204584 ISBN-10: 0520204581

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 267 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (January 20, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520204581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520204584
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,965,575 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA. This collection of memoirs provides a stirring and disturbing picture of what reality is all about for those people fleeing the disaster of Bosnia and Croatia. Divided into five sections, the translated accounts of the real victims of the war add lasting images to those seen on television or captured in photographs. The suitcase contains some 75 stories of these people, mostly women and children, as they flee the war-zone conditions, long for home, settle into life as refugees or displaced persons, and attempt to make a new life away from all they had formerly known. A one-line description of the narrator (age, name, and location) precedes each selection, and a short afterword explains or extends the individual story. Because of the oppressive topic, this collection is difficult to read from cover to cover; however, it serves as excellent primary-source material for any research on conditions in the former Yugoslavia or on refugees throughout the world. The narratives are readable; a single black-and-white map at the front includes many of the towns, villages, and cities cited in the text. Photographs confirm the devastating state of life for these individuals.?Dottie Kraft, formerly at Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In this anthology, refugees from the civil wars in the former Yugoslavia tell their stories to relief workers. More than 75 individuals were interviewed in refugee camps from Pakistan to Canada or in their new homes. Predominantly but not exclusively Bosnian Muslims and mostly women who left Bosnia between spring 1992 and late 1995, they tell stories grouped into five areas: leaving home, dreams of return, daily life in a camp, children's stories, and starting over in a new country. Concluding essays by the editors discuss the relief needs of women, specifically in terms of Muslim women as refugees; conditions afflicting all refugees (regardless of origin or ethnic identity); and the duration of the refugee crisis in the former Yugoslavia. This collection is similar to Anna Cataldi's Letters from Sarajevo (LJ 6/15/94) in its multiple stories, each contributing to the mosaic.?Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Richard R on March 10, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Who are refugees? People who fled the wars in Bosnia and Croatia are scattered in Missouri and Ontario, Germany and Austria, Israel and Pakistan, and they are displaced to other towns within their own countries. They are not voluntary emigrants whose bags are packed with hopes in search of a dream. They may be wealthy, or at least they may once have been. The refugee cleaning floors for minimum wage may have been a surgeon in her own life. The eight-year old girl may be the only one in her family who has learned English, so it is only she who can speak with government officials and store clerks. Refugees are anyone and everyone. They are professionals and farmers and little boys and criminals and poets, but mostly they are women and children and the elderly.
The Suitcase gives voice to the people "without context". They speak of their dreams and their losses. Their poems are here and sad scenes of small things washed away forever by tides of war. "War taught us a lot. How the fear makes people irrationally greedy. It is difficult to resist becoming greedy. It is almost like an instinct. To possess, to hold on to something. In shelters, to hold on to somebody. To hold on to your prayer, even if you never prayed before". Some refugees long only for the day when they can return to their hometowns to begin to reglue the shards of their old lives. Some can speak only of Bosnia's beauty or the pleasures of a cup of coffee with friends.
Others close and lock the door on the past with determination. "We arrived here safely. Everyone is fine. Please do not write us or try to contact us. We do not want to be reminded of anything", reads the postcard sent by a Bosnian family after they arrived in Canada in 1994.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 12, 1997
Format: Hardcover
The Suitcase is a wonderful and sorrowful journey into the hearts of an oppressed and victimized land. the personal stories are of those who, throughout history have had no voice. Any person with a sense of history will surely feel the magnitude of the plight of a refugee.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Leah Christensen on August 18, 2010
Format: Paperback
I could not put this wonderful book down. These people needed to have their stories told, and this wonderful book make this possible. The way their stories were told, I not only learned a lot, but felt like I was traveling right along with this. A 5-star book, for sure.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Simon M. Lam on July 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a very good book about the refugees from the Bosnia war. The authors have a collection of thoughts, poems, and stories from the refugees that were driven away from their homes. The horrible living conditions some had to go through were horrifying. The thoughts and stories make you feel what they have went through. It is very touching and moving from what the refugees have to say. You can tell the authors put a lot of work into this book.
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By Emma on December 3, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book seriously brought tears to my eyes. My boyfriend was born in Bosnia, but left during the Bosnian/Serbian war.
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