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Balkans

Balkans

Ply your way through the Balkan States with one of our many guidebooks in hand. Though you may hesitate to carry it in your backpack, Rebecca West's tome Black Lamb, Grey Falcon is the best way to explore the complex history of Yugoslavia. We also love Ivo Andric's Bridge on the Drina, an epic fictional account that traces the Ottoman period in the Central Balkans from the 16th century to World War I. For a local voice we champion the books of Croatian journalist Slavenka Drakulic, and for a contemporary guide, look to Robert Kaplan who spent years studying the region.

Follow the links below to see recommended reading for each destination.

The Longitude Blog – Balkans
In Europe's Shadow
Like many travelers, journalist Robert Kaplan was first inspired to journey to Romania because of a book. In 1981, he served a year in the Israel Defense Forces and as his commitment drew to an end, he wondered what to do next. Serendipity intervened when he grabbed a copy of The Governments of Communist East Europe by H. Gordon Skilling off a dusty bookshelf. After absorbing the book, he decided to fly to Romania as soon as possible. “That book made me a foreign correspondent,” he reflects, “even though no one had hired me.” Kaplan credits that first trip with giving his life a direction that never altered.
Destination Stewardship Award
Peaks of the Balkans – from the countries of Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro – was awarded the Tourism for Tomorrow Destination Stewardship Award at the World Travel & Tourism Council’s 13th Global Summit in Abu Dhabi on April 9. Bill Clinton delivered the keynote address. The three other winners were El Nido Resorts in the Philippines (Community Benefit Award), South Africa’s Luxury Safari Lodge & Beyond (Conservation Award) and Air New Zealand (Global Tourism Business Award). The TTA is chaired by Costas Christ, an editor of National Geographic Traveler and the judges this year also included Jalsa Urubshurow, President of Nomadic Expeditions.
The Tiger's Wife
The war-scarred Balkans, past and present, is the subject of Téa Obreht’s intricately woven new novel, The Tiger’s Wife, winner of the 2011 Orange Prize. At 25, Obreht is the youngest-ever author to take the Prize. Obreht, one of The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40 fiction writers, was born in Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia and spent her childhood in Cyprus and Egypt before immigrating with her family to the United States when she was twelve.