Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia

by Rebecca West


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Written on the brink of World War II, Rebecca West's classic examination of the history, people, and politics of Yugoslavia illuminates a region that is still a focus of international concern. A magnificent blend of travel journal, cultural commentary, and historical insight, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon probes the troubled history of the Balkans and the uneasy relationships among its ethnic groups. The landscape and the people of Yugoslavia are brilliantly observed as West untangles the tensions that rule the country's history as well as its daily life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780670171910
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Publication date: 06/25/1943
Product dimensions: 20.00(w) x 20.00(h) x 20.00(d)

About the Author

Rebecca West (1892—1983) was a novelist, biographer, journalist, critic, and one of the twentieth century's most brilliant and forceful writers.
Christopher Hitchens is a celebrated author and critic. His books include Love, Poverty, and War and Why Orwell Matters.

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Black Lamb and Grey Falcon 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
deebee1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
To finish this immense book, a doorstop several times over at a whopping 1181 densely written and small printed pages which is part travelogue, history, with plenty of philosophical musings thrown in, require a good amount of persistence. The book, hailed as West's masterpiece and considered one of the greatest books of the 20th century, chronicles a 6-week journey that she and her husband made in the late 1930s through the ex-Yugoslavia and provides a mosaic of country and town life in this troubled region. She provides a sweeping account of its history and politics, and while critics question the accuracy of some information, it gives us outsiders a good starting place to explore Balkan history. In general, she keeps a highly romanticized view of the peoples, and amidst some captivating prose and interesting insights, a degree of intolerance shows through.She is especially biased towards the Serbs, termed by some reviewers as her fascination over their "noble savage" character. The Slavs are an intensely nationalistic people, and West is able to depict this very well, and how in history this has served them two ways, to defeat their common oppressor, the Turks, and later on, to divide them along religious lines. West tells us why all these centuries, from the time of the Ottoman conquest, this region has always been volatile, and that their revolts and eventual victory against the Ottoman empire is not just a local or even regional achievement, but meant the defense of Western civilization against the East -- they fought for Europe's very existence. West evokes picturesque and dramatic landscape. Here, she does not exaggerate, as I saw this for myself when I traveled to parts of the region last summer. Interestingly, nothing much seems to have changed in the countryside --- the wars that rocked the region after West wrote this book that resulted in its isolation from modernizing influences, has kept it like this. In every place she visits, she provides a historical context and some analysis, some accounts of which are quite riveting, two of which, for me, stand out -- the assassination of Prince Franz Ferdinand and his wife in Sarajevo (which triggered WWI), and the tumultuous reigns of the Serbian kings. What is tiresome in this book is that West loves to go rambling on what seems at first a philosophical discourse but after a while, turns into some mystical reflections. I find this surprising --- she appears to be very rational and intellectual in her initial approach to exploring the story and the mindset of these peoples, but in trying to understand them, she somehow imbues mystical qualities to events and characters. In any case, she can go on and on, and it is nothing but mind-numbing. She also becomes quite redundant and predictable in her reactions and insights, and at times, quite narrow-minded (the meaning and her interpretation of the symbolism of the book's title, for one). What I also find lacking here, is her lack of interaction with the locals. She had a very knowledgeable guide, and got to meet important political and religious personages, but all the views she got were from the elite. Would it have mattered if she had had a serious conversation with one of those "noble savages" that she idealizes? I guess so... it would have rendered her observations a little more authentic, a little more engaged, and not merely views of the typical well-to-do, foreign tourist who obviously delighted in the exotic and strange ways of these people but who prefers to be detached anyway. West wrote this book for 5 years, in the period when the rumbling of the imminent war was getting louder and closer. She provides in the Epilogue what i consider in the book to be her most incisive analysis, this time of the events that were sweeping Europe, and how again Yugoslavia would be drawn into the maelstrom. In any case, this book is an experience to read. There is much to digest here, so it's best to be read in an unhurried way. Be pr
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
mermao More than 1 year ago
This travel memoir is a bit over-rated. There is a lot of fascinating information and historical trivia, but the absence of footnotes makes it hard to determine how accurate many of the author's historical anecdotes are. And then there is the relentless dualistic prejudice. The Serbs and their interwar state of Yugoslavia are good. The Italians, Austrians, Germans, Hungarians, Turks, the Catholic Church, and any other people who have ever opposed the Serbs are evil. I have a good deal of sympathy for the Serbs, especially in their current situation, but West's views of Balkan politics are very simplistic.
cocobelle More than 1 year ago
The history of this area, now divided again, is complicated and difficult, but West, with her own personal stories riding along with events, makes it understandable, even if I won't remember any of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are 480 results at peirce.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Swiftly walks in. And brutaly kills the cats here. Heleaves limb scattered all over the place
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wakes up and screams "HEARTPAW NO" she shivers and seeing the cats around her says w-wheres heartpaw bloodtail and murder pelt are going to take us hunting. She was in denial of the fact that her sister was gone
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Comes in with his eyes both red
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Spearfang...... from waveclan?