Book Reviews


A Nation Forged in War

Marcus TANNER [1]

When I bought this book from Zagreb, I did not have much concrete expectations at all. It was a novel all in all, and from the title to the contents I was under impression that it was a one-sided and chauvinistic work. Nonetheless, I was still happy to find this novel. Because, it is one of the rare books about Croatian history written in English, and not only covering a recent history, but the one from the early ages.

Croatia 1

“Marcus Tanner was Balkan correspondent for the Independent from 1988 to 1994 and subsequently the paper’s assistant foreign editor. He is also the author of Ireland’s Holy Wars: The Struggle for a Nation’s Soul.”

According to me, with these qualifications and previous experiences Tanner managed to conclude this work as a history document rather than a novel. Because, everything relies on references and evidence. There are quotations from the acting figures and interviews made with people who stood as first-hand witnesses.

Croatia 2

In this book you can also find some historical maps about Balkan territory for different periods of time, illustrations regarding the cultural and social life that affected the lives of Croatian people, and photos, banners etc. that might give a better understanding to the sequence of events that folded in the Croatia at old times.

Although I claim that it is a documentary rather than a novel, I must point out that the language is not lexiphanic but quiet fluent in contrary. In addition if you are interested in learning Croatian you will encounter with sporadic Croatian expressions, and generally official spelling of places, names and events with the modern Croatian version.

On these grounds, I strictly recommend this book to everyone who addresses himself/herself as a student of history, art and languages. These three fields, along with the geography, are highly intertwined and trying to learn one of those without the other is in vain and amiss in my opinion. In this regards I believe that set aside enjoying a novel you will enrich your knowledge.

Ergun UNUTMAZ, 20/05/2014

[1] Marcus TANNER, Yale University Press, Third Edition, 2010,