By Simon Winchester
A precise Portrait of 1 of the World's such a lot Chaotic and lovely areas That Explains Why Violence Has continuously happened There--And Why it could proceed For Years To Come
The large and mountainous zone that makes up the Balkans is rife with discord, either cultural and topographical. And, as Simon Winchester beautifully demonstrates during this intimate portrait of the quarter, a lot of the political strife of the previous century may be traced to its inherent contrasts. by using a consultant and linguist, Winchester traveled deep into the region's so much frustrating areas--including Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, and Turkey--just because the battle used to be tearing those international locations aside. the result's a booklet not only approximately battle but in addition approximately how conflict impacts the dwelling. either undying and present, The Fracture Zone is going in the back of the headlines to supply a real photograph of a sector that has continually been at the breaking point. Winchester's amazing trip places all of the parts together--the faults, the fractures, and the chaos--to make experience out of a possible mindless place.
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Additional resources for The Fracture Zone: My Return to the Balkans
Except I had one additional moment of revelation: My God! I’ve been here once before. I recognized it in an instant, just at the moment when I strolled up to the Macedonian frontier post and was shooed away by policemen who were busy dealing with the endless streams still pouring past them. I had joined the incoming flood for a second or two, walking back southward, back along the way I had come, trying to make sympathetic conversation with the newcomers in the column—when suddenly, looking over at the hills where we had seen the MUP militiamen at dawn, I realized that I was on familiar ground.
Their drivers were invariably men with rather narrow, dark, pinched faces: A few of them, usually the older ones, wore white and smoothly thimble-shaped hats. We were making first for the old town of Pec, where I had read there was a collection of stupendous Orthodox churches and monasteries, some of them six hundred years old and more, and with frescoes on their walls that dated from the fifteenth century and presented the wild pantheon of saints* and kings and godly scenes that make the canons of Orthodoxy seem to the western mind so very strange.
It had brought the specter of the old Balkans back among us, to terrify those who live there and threaten those who live beyond. It seemed the most wretched of situations, even though the doomsayers and Cassandras had long said, as they do with everything connected to the Balkans, that it was bound to be so. But once again there arose the question that seemed so eternally asked and so perpetually appropriate here: Just why? Just why is there, and seemingly always has been, this dire inevitability about the Balkans being so fractious and unsettled a corner of the world?