Between 1941 and 1945, under the yoke of Nazi Fascism, 1,700,000 Yugoslavs were killed,"" states editor Lenski at the outset of his introduction to Death of a Simple Giant and other modern Yugoslav stories. This collection restores to the reader writers from Montenegro, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, and fine writers, to a man, they are. The collection leads off with stories by Bosnian Andric, Nobel Prize winner, and Croatian Krleza, Nobel Prize candidate, both accepted as classic writers, whose stories tell of an earlier time, between wars. Montenegrin Lalic's searing tale of a young shepherdess martyred in 1942 sounds another chord in ""that immense treasury of human suffering which now incorporates much of the history of our own days."" Other stories, each somehow rooted in the soil of the country's essential experience, turn to the surreal as in Voranc's ""The Birdman,"" or Marinkovic's imaginative ""The Hands!"" The title story tells how the love of his fellow villagers protected the simple giant Mata in life and death -- a tale of goodness unmarred by sentimentality. The later, post-war stories record the sterility of bureaucracy or of life turned inward as in ""Mr. Pink's Collector"" and ""The Lovers."" A fine blend of folk energy and artistic style make these illuminating, fascinating reading.