A Concise Historical Atlas of Eastern Europe Dennis P. Hupchick and Harold E. Cox (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996)
Any traveler knows the importance of a good map. This handy book provides a slew of historical maps that help illuminate the complicated contours of the various Balkan empires and states, providing a foundation for deeper understanding of Eastern European history.
Balkan Ghosts: A Journey Through History Robert D. Kaplan (New York: Vintage, 1993)
Covering his travels in 1980s Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, and Yugoslavia, Kaplan wrote this politically tinged book on the cusp of the changes that would envelop the post-Cold War Balkans.
The Balkans: A Short History Mark Mazower (New York: Modern Library Paperback, 2002)
As the title says, a short history of the Balkan region. A helpful intro to this corner of Europe.
The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers, 1804-1999 Misha Glenny (New York: Penguin, 2001)
A rather epic undertaking by a former BBC correspondent for Central Europe, this book traces the tumultuous two centuries of the Balkan states’ struggles for independence from the Ottoman Empire, the emergence of pan-Slavic tendencies and their tribulations, and the reign of various regimes of the right and left during the 20th Century. A worthwhile read—don’t let its dimensions frighten you…
Café Europa: Life After Communism Slavenka Drakulic (New York: Penguin, 1996)
An interesting read that captures a Balkan perspective on the early days after the Fall of the Wall, and in the midst of the break-up of Yugoslavia. Croatian Drakulic is a witty writer and tackles issues including memory, guilt, national identity, and the influx of the West’s crass commercialism.
To Kill a Nation: The Attack on Yugoslavia Michael Parenti (London: Verso, 2000)
In a fiery tome, Parenti makes the case that Yugoslavia’s disintegration was a deliberate result of Western policy, carried out by NATO guns and the privatizing forces of Western economic interests. A book that challenges many of the preconceptions about Yugoslavia and NATO’s interventions there.