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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.