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With Their Backs to the World: Portraits…
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With Their Backs to the World: Portraits from Serbia (edition 2006)

by Asne Seierstad, Sindre Kartvedt (Translator)

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199659,063 (3.73)4
Member:jetblack615
Title:With Their Backs to the World: Portraits from Serbia
Authors:Asne Seierstad
Other authors:Sindre Kartvedt (Translator)
Info:Basic Books (2006), Edition: Tra, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
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Tags:50 Book Challenge 2012

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With Their Backs to the World: Portraits from Serbia by Åsne Seierstad

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This book provides many interesting perspectives about the recent history of Serbia. The book consists of fourteen chapters, each relating the time the author spent with a different Serbian individual or family. She meets a wide range of people, including a convicted war criminal's wife, higher up members of Slobodan Milosevic's party, leaders of the opposition, refugees who fled Kososvo, a rock star, and artists. The meetings occur right before Milosevic's fall from power and continue for a few years after.

I really appreciated the way that Seierstad seemed to both value and question each of the different perspectives. It was really interestng to read chapters about people who knew Milosevic and other war criminals personally. It is rare to gain a human perspective on someone who just always seemed just plain evil.

I learned a lot about how complicated the situation is and how many crimes have been committed on all sides of the conflict, not just by Milosevic and his party. It was sad to read about all the people who were working so hard to overthrow his regime, only to be somewhat disappointed by what followed.

The book taught me a lot about Serbia, and I would love to read a book about every country that was written in this way, where you really get some different perspectives. Five stars may be a bit generous, but oh well. ( )
  klburnside | Aug 11, 2015 |
An interesting book, well researched and well-written. However, I would have liked was a timeline of the key events in Yugoslavia, I found it a little difficult to keep track. ( )
  cazfrancis | Nov 25, 2012 |
Een schrijfster en oorlogscorrespondent brengt aan de hand van interviews het huidige leven in Servië in beeld.
  pobrerica | Jul 21, 2010 |
People rave about the way this author writes, but I just don't see it. Perhaps it is (literally) lost in the translation (from Norwegian to English)... That said, the stories she tells are very interesting, and the widely ranging perspectives she provides about Serbians' reactions to their government are fascinating. Well worth a read if you are at all interested in the Balkans. ( )
1 vote kjhill45 | Jan 1, 2009 |
Looking at how Yugoslavia has morphed into separate identities through the eyes of various individuals was indeed an awakening. Survival was often measured in just being alive rather than being prosperous. A noteworthy book, one that catalogs what must go on in every society torn by fear of differences.
  sluciani | Sep 21, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0465076025, Paperback)

From beloved international reporter Åsne Seierstad comes a remarkable exploration of the lives of ordinary Serbs under the regime of Slobodan Milosevic-during the dramatic events leading up to his fall, and finally in the troubled years that have followed. Seierstad traveled extensively through Serbia between 1999 and 2004, following the lives of people from across the political spectrum. Her moving and perceptive account follows nationalists, Titoists, Yugonostalgics, rock stars, fugitives, and poets. Seierstad brings her acclaimed attention to detail to bear on the lives of those whom she encounters in With Their Backs to the World, as she creates a kaleidoscopic portrait of a nation made up of so many different-and often conflicting-hopes, dreams, and points of view.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:08 -0400)

In this book Seierstad follows 13 Serbs whose lives were transformed over the course of 16 months, offering an intimate portrait of these individuals and a vivid study of the civil war and its aftermath.

(summary from another edition)

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