by Chuck Sudetic ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 1, 1998
This exploration of a family's experience during the Bosnian war provides unique and harrowing insight into Bosnian Serb-Muslim relations. Sudetic, a Croatian-American, made a name for himself as a hardened and accomplished war journalist for the New York Times in the early 1990s. Desensitized to the daily carnage (he describes imagining himself viewing it from an observation tower), he loved the exhilaration of the job but felt that his newspaper pieces failed to capture ""the deep structure of Bosnia itself, especially peasant Bosnia, lumpen Bosnia, the Bosnia the war had ravaged most."" Establishing contact with the Celik family, his wife's relatives, presented him the opportunity to do just that. The extraordinary result, Blood and Vengeance, accomplishes precisely what its author set out to do, and more. Through vast personal interviewing and research, Sudetic relates the Celiks' experience of war from their origins in an isolated mountain hamlet north of Viegrad to their ill-fated flight to doomed Srebrenica, and their final flight to a refugee camp in Tuzla. But while the narrative focuses on the Celiks (who seem intimately familiar by the book's end), this account also follows the fate of Bosnian Serb families from their village. The story is rich in illuminating detail. In engaging prose, Sudetic acquaints us with the rhythms of daily life and interaction between the Bosnian Serbs and Muslims in the village of Kupusovici, as well as with their complex historical relations throughout the centuries. He sensitively evokes the character and mood of the village and this region bordering on Serbia that includes some of Bosnia's most devastated towns. In particular, Blood and Vengeance adds to our understanding of the horror that was Srebrenica before the Celiks and other Muslim refugees underwent expulsion or mass execution by Bosnian Serbs in July 1995. Among the spate of books the Bosnian crisis has generated, Sudetic's tale of one family's struggle for survival is an essential and lasting contribution.
Pub Date: July 1, 1998
Page Count: 400
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 1998
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