Natalija: Life in the Balkan Powder Keg, 1880-1956
The life story of a Serbian woman over a period of more than 70 years, preserved in memoirs, letters and mostly diaries, recounts the triumphs and tragedies of a life that takes place against the backdrop of extraordinary turbulence in the Balkans. It covers more than half a century, five wars (including the two world wars), and four ideologies. This is a time of excitement in Serbia as its leaders carve an independent state out of the Ottoman Empire and attempt to modernize a largely rural and "backward" corner of Europe. A time of opportunity for many who join in the effort to build the infrastructure of a modern economy, as well as the growing number of middle class families who send their children, in rare cases even girls, to the emerging system of state schools. Above all, a time of war, as the expanding Serbian state comes into conflict with its neighbors and, ultimately, the Great Powers of Europe. Accompanied by an introductory study, Natalija's diary provides a rich background to understanding the on-going conflict in the Balkans today.
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