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Yugoslavia: The History of the Eastern European Nation from Its Founding to Its Breakup

Narrated by: Colin Fluxman
Length: 3 hrs and 13 mins
Categories: History, European
4 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Yugoslavia was arguably one of the most unusual geopolitical creations of the 20th century. The Yugoslav state had never existed in any historical sense, and the ties that bound together its constituent peoples were tenuous at best. Although nominally all “Slavs,” the country was an amalgamation of languages, alphabets, cultures, religions, and traditions, which ensured its short existence was littered with splits, conflicts, and shocking violence. In a sense, it’s somewhat surprising that it lasted as long as it did. 

In the wake of World War I, as the political boundaries of Europe and the Middle East were redrawn, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, initially known as the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, came into existence with a monarch as its head of state. Confirmed at the 1919 Versailles Conference, the “first” Yugoslavia was a particularly fragile enterprise, and there was almost constant tension between the majority Serbs and the other Yugoslav nationalities, especially the Croats. As a result, the Kingdom was a land of political assassinations, underground terrorist organizations, and ethnic animosities. In 1929, King Alexander I suspended democracy and ruled as a dictator until he himself was assassinated in 1934. 

The Kingdom of Yugoslavia was particularly vulnerable to the forces that engulfed the rest of Europe at the end of the 1930s, including fascism and communism. When the Axis forces attacked in 1941, the country quickly capitulated and was dismembered by the Nazis and their allies. A separate Croatian state was formed, led by Ante Paveli, who committed some of the worst crimes and human rights abuses of the war. The Balkan region was virtually emptied of its Jewish population, victims of the Nazi Holocaust. 

During his reign, Tito managed to quash the intense national feelings of the diverse groups making up the Yugoslavian population, and he did so through several methods. He managed to successfully play the two superpower rivals, the United States and Soviet Union, off against each other during the Cold War, and in doing so, he maintained a considerable amount of independence from both, even as he additionally received foreign aid to keep his regime afloat. All the while he remained defiant, once penning a legendary letter to Joseph Stalin warning the Soviet dictator, “To Joseph Stalin: Stop sending people to kill me! We've already captured five of them, one of them with a bomb and another with a rifle... If you don't stop sending killers, I'll send a very fast working one to Moscow and I certainly won't have to send another.”

Internal issues plagued the country in its final years and Tito had tinkered with Yugoslavia’s constitution on several occasions. His final attempt, in 1974, saw the partial separation of Kosovo - crucial in the Serb national story - from the rest of Serbia.

©2018 Charles River Editors (P)2018 Charles River Editors

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Excellent insight

This is the fourth book I’ve read/listened to by Charles River Editors and I would gladly listen to another. I enjoy books like this one that give me an overview of a topic. Often I’d love to learn more, yet regardless, I learn enough to gain some understanding or perspective on a topic I often know little about. This book did not disappoint. Once again they’ve put forth a comprehensive, interesting listen.

This is the fourth book I’ve listened to by this narrator ( Colin Fluxman ). He does a wonderful job reading history books. His cadence is great and his voice is clear. He helps to keep the book interesting.

There are no explicit sex scenes, excessive violence or swearing.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review.
Please feel free to comment on whether you found my review helpful.

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  • Jan
  • MKE
  • 07-08-19

Good to know!

historical-places-events, historical-research, historical-figures, Europe, war-is-hell

The countries that became Yugoslavia were basically under siege by The Ottoman Turks and others for hundreds of years. Things changed in the 20th century with the Nazis eliminating many segments of the population. After that war, the several ethnic groups united to become Yugoslavia and prospered for a time. Then, in the 1990s, the peoples waged wars involving ethnic cleansing for nearly the whole decade until the various peoples established separate countries once again.
The presentation is clear and well done. The narration by Colin Fluxman is well presented.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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A compact history

Yugoslavia. An enigma of a country.
This book is a taster for more information on Yugoslavia. It's wars and it's people.
Well researched and laid out. Narration is clear and concise just how you need it on a history book.
I received a free copy of this audio book at my own request and voluntarily leave this review.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Solid Primer

A solid primer on a country whose history is a mystery to many. I would have liked a little more detail on the Balkan wars of the 1990s, what each faction believed, etc.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Lives Up to Its Promise

This book was positioned as a brief history of Yugoslavia and since I knew very little about that part of the world it piqued my interest. In short, I wasn't disappointed. Colin Fluxman takes us through the trials and tribulations of this nation in an engaging way; what could have been dry material is made more interesting by his reading. The one downside of the book is I wished they had spent more time on the pre-founding era of Yugoslavia: where did its peoples come from, who settled the land and why? Other than that, this is a very good but brief history of a little known part of the world.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this review voluntarily.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-08-19

Now I know history of Yugoslavia

For many years i really wanted to know what caused the breakup of Yugoslavia and after listening to this amazing audio book.
I'v got the answer.