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Yugoslavia as History: Twice There Was a Country Paperback – March 28, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0521774017 ISBN-10: 0521774012 Edition: 2nd

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Yugoslavia as History: Twice There Was a Country + Yugoslavia: A Concise History: Revised and Updated Edition + The Balkans: A Short History (Modern Library Chronicles)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; 2 edition (March 28, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521774012
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521774017
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,481,208 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Lampe...is an authority on the Balkans whose dispassionate judgments provide unique insights into the origins of the collapse." Boston Globe

"Yugoslavia as History sketches an indispensable historical background to the cataclysmic events that swept away an entire country. Lampe's book is a corrective to both the hostile and the nostalgic approaches to Yugoslavia. The real story is much more complex, and Lampe tells it with insight, judgment, and clarity." Warren Zimmermann, US Ambassador to Yugoslavia 1989-1992 and author of Origins of a Catastrophe: Yugoslavia and Its Destroyers

Book Description

Yugoslavia as History is the first book to examine the bloody demise of the former Yugoslavia in the full light of its history. This new edition of John Lampe's accessible and authoritative history devotes a full new chapter to the tragic ethnic wars that have followed the dissolution of Yugoslavia, first in Croatia and Bosnia, and most recently in Kosovo. John Lampe concentrates on the connection, real and imagined, between these conflicts and the experience of the successor states, the two Yugoslavias and their predecessors.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Edward Bosnar on March 15, 2001
Format: Paperback
Lampe's "Yugoslavia as History" is probably the first book that deals with the entire history of Yugoslavia from its inception in 1918 to its collapse in 1991. While discussing pre-1918 developments and (very summarily) post-1991 events, he focuses his discussion on Yugoslavia as it actually existed, doing a commendable job of viewing past events on their own terms rather than through the prism of present-day events (the primary flaw of many recent historical works written both by former Yugoslav and outside scholars, commentators, etc.). Lampe's primary expertise is economic history, and this is evident in his strong analysis of Yugoslavia's frequent economic problems, which would be a crucial factor in the country's eventual downfall. However, this means he often gives short shrift to the cultural, social and intellectual antagonisms which gave expression to the country's underlying problems. Also, while socialist Yugoslavia's decentralized political structure did foment the development of separate economic, social and intellectual cultures, there were also many factors that bound Yugoslav citizens and did create a some sense of community (he only touches on sports and film, but almost completely ignores literature and pop music). Indeed, this appearance of a rudimentary common culture was what made Yugoslavia's violent breakdown so shocking to people in the county itself and to outside experts. Even so, "Yugoslavia as History" is a very strong survey of the country's troubled history and a very useful resource for students and others - it is much, much better and more informative than the many "instant histories" (a term I think Lampe himself used in a journal article) which appeared in droves once Yugoslavia did break up and the war started. The book is also, by the way, a very good reflection and summary of the main streams of American historiography on the former Yugoslavia.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 15, 1999
Format: Paperback
It happens so rarely that one gets so completely excited by a history book, especially if, as is the case with Lampe's work, it covers such a broad time-period in such a relatively small and, with the sad exception of the last ten years, un-known country. Lampe has succeeded in what many scholars of the region of the former Yugoslavia have failed: to provide an authoritative, well-argumented, and clear case for the bloody demise of the country. He is one of the few who doesn't fall into the trap of playing the prejudicial and rascist songs about Balkans being the cradle of terrorism and bloodshed - rather, he traces the demise of the country through almost one hundred years of its existence, showing when and why Yugoslavia was to the benefits of the nations living there, and when its existence ran contrary to the wishes of its founding fathers. Lampe has a sharp eye of an observer who has witnessed a tragedy with his heart and yet knows how to look for answers and explanations using his head. I can only warmly recommend this book to anyone who really wants to get a taste of this unhappy region, to all students of the Balkans, or people merely interested in "what it was all about". This is a real diamond in a decade which has seen a wave of books dealing with the former Yugoslavia, most of which have left me flabbergasted and stupified by their style and myopic (to say the least) ideas they promoted.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By N. Saiti on October 22, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
having lived in Yugoslavia, and having sworn to defend it with my life on 7/27/82, and believing in the idea of Yugoslavia... I got hooked on the word dispassionate in the review, and thought I needed to read a book that is a true scholarly work, motivated by the search for the truth...

...and I was not disappointed, John Lampe's book was exactly that, a true scholarly work, where each judgment was supported by data and scholarly references. It took me long to read this book, it was about my beliefs: yes Yugoslavia was a great idea in both of its incarnations, the first time abused by king Aleksandar and Serbian "politicians" whose incompetence actually wasted all the sacrifice the Serbian people had to make during WWI. Then I lived through Tito's rule, a masterful politician, charismatic leader, Tito, but a pretty incompetent economist, he had many good ideas, but his mishandling of WWII history gave credence to outsiders, that would have stayed on the margins of history otherwise (e.g. G Susak, M. Djujic)... Finally, Tito's idea for succession created chaos that brought some characters from the depths of hell to the surface...

...or, perhaps the idea is weak, because we are weak people, easily lead by emotions, that always elect leaders to lead as to abyss... As I was reading the book, I wondered why would someone know so much about a small country like our, one can fell the countless hours the author put in to build his knowledge, and my answer is, Mr. Lampe is a true scholar, and this my second scholarly work I read after reading Mark Mazawar's "Balkan, A Short History." but this book was what I needed, something to analyze the idea of Yugoslavia, so easily dismissed by many today.
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By JLW on April 25, 2015
Format: Paperback
Deeply Moving. I am an American: mixed English, Scandinavian, German, etc. US 'White'. I met Croatian restaurant-owner emigres in Chicago in 1991, and realized during talks with them, that they were Ustashe to the bone: they were up to their eyeballs in financing and fundraising for Tudjman. They insisted on giving me a faxed 'map' of Greater Hrvatska which featured Ante Pavelic as the perfect Croatian Hero. They made it very clear they were bent on nothing less than a wholesale massacre of Serbs, and to re-institute the NDH. I was horrified. It was like finding out your nice next-door neighbor is a serial killer.
I went to a great deal of trouble to travel to FRY in 1993-94 to fight on the 'Serb' side, going into Bosnia, as a purely moral decision: that no matter what excesses Serb forces committed, it could not possibly be worse than what the expatriate Croatian population wanted and demanded for their money. Sickening, all the way around. I regret nothing.
I still believe, after more than 20 years, that the Yugoslav ideal is good. I do. It is imperfect; it is poorly implemented; but I fought for a REASON. The Serbian behavior in the fights 1991-2001 was really bad. I can't excuse the individual behavior. But the idea behind it was sound: a multi-religious, multi-ethnic State equal to anywhere in Europe. I believe in it still. A few months ago, as i go back when I have holiday, I got off a plane to the US from Beograd and when the US Customs Officer asked me where I had been, I immediately and without thinking said, "Yugoslavia."
I had to correct myself: "I mean, Serbia."
The guy, to his credit, laughed and said, "You'd be surprised how many of you guys say that."
There is hope yet.
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