“I had come to Yugoslavia to see what history meant in flesh and blood.”
A travel literature classic. Introduced by Geoff Dyer: ‘As a book about Yugoslavia it’s a kind of metaphysical Lonely Planet that never requires updating’
‘Impossible to put down’ Observer
‘One of the great books of the century’ Times Literary Supplement
Rebecca West’s epic masterpiece not only provides deep insight into the former country of Yugoslavia; it is a portrait of Europe on the brink of war. A heady cocktail of personal travelogue and historical insight, this product of an implacably inquisitive intelligence remains essential for anyone attempting to understand the history of the Balkan states, and the wider ongoing implications for a fractured Europe.
“The sheer quality and depth of the writing make it one of the great books of the century”
times Literary Supplement
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“Impossible to put down, both timeless and of its time – a travel book and epic narrative history brimming with passion, anger, scholarship and intuition, hatred and love”
“One of the supreme masterpieces of the twentieth century … As a book about Yugoslavia it’s a kind of metaphysical Lonely Planet that never requires updating”
“It is hard to convey the flavour of a book so rich in observation, history, philosophy, political ideas and ironic humour”
“It is a brilliant antidote to the disease that would have us believe that these are faraway countries about which we know nothing”
Rebecca West (1892–1983) was the adopted name of Cicily Isabel Fairfield. She was born in London in 1892 and educated in Edinburgh. Poet, critic and author, West published several novels to widespread acclaim, including The Return of the Soldier and The Judge. She was made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in 1959. Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, her magisterial history and travelogue of Yugoslavia, is widely considered her magnum opus.