Balkan Ghosts: a Journey Through History by Robert D. Kaplan
I read Balkan Ghosts by by Robert Kaplan in October 2016
Balkan Ghosts is part travel book and part history book. The author, through his travels, is able to tell the history of the Balkan area, mixing his own experiences in with the story of this fascinating region. Completed in 1990 and published three years later, it is a book about the Balkans before the horrible wars of the ninetees, when Nationalism and corrupt politicians set old Yugoslavia on fire. The book did not sell well at first, but saw an increase in popularity when Presiden Clinton was seen with the book. In fact, the book is said to have made up Clinton’s mind not to deploy troops to aid the Bosnian Moslems, a choice the author actually disagrees with.
In 1991 Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia seceded from the Yugoslav Federation. In response the Yugoslav Army (JNA), by then mostly run by Serbs, started an offensive on the three countries. The pretext was to protect local Serbs living in in of the three countries. The war in Slovenia, JNA’s first target would be over in days, Slovenia successfully claiming its independency, while the war in Bosnia and Croatia would drag on much longer.
Dubrovnik was for a long time known as Ragusa, and was an independent republic. For over 500 years the Republic of Ragusa defended its independency, in many ways thanks to the massive walls surrounding the city.
I find a seat at a table with a great view of the ocean. Blue water as far as you can see, only interrupted by a passing boat every now and then. Across the water is Italy, but too far away to be seen.