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From the assassination that triggered World War I to the ethnic warfare now sweeping Serbia, Bosnia, and Croatia, the Balkans have been the crucible of the twentieth century, the place where terrorism and genocide first became tools of policy.
This enthralling and often chilling political travelogue fully deciphers the Balkans' ancient passions and intractable hatreds for outsiders. For as Kaplan travels among the vibrantly-adorned churches and soul-destroying slums of the former Yugoslavia, Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, and Greece, he allows us to see the region's history as a time warp in which Slobodan Milosevic becomes the reincarnation of a fourteenth-century Serbian martyr; Nicolae Ceaucescu is called "Drac," or "the Devil"; and the one-time Soviet Union turns out to be a continuation of the Ottoman Empire. [via]