Published amid the unraveling of the second Yugoslavia, The Contested Country lays bare the roots of the idea of Yugoslav unity--its conflict with the Croatian and Serbian national ideologies and its peculiar alliance with liberal and progressive, especially Communist, ideologies.
To write about the national question [of] Yugoslavia is to enter a mine field of national prejudices ready to explode. Djilas enters this mine field with courage but not recklessness. His evenhandedness is impressive...He provides remarkably dispassionate descriptions of a wide range of movements, ideologies, personalities, and evils...His book should be essential reading for anyone interested in Yugoslavia's troubled past and doubtful future.
What can explain the inability of Serbs, Croats, Slovenes, Macedonians, Muslims, Albanians, and Hungarians to come to a peaceful settlement of their differences?...Djilas explain[s] all this and more...with verve, intelligence, and a superb mastery of facts.
Aleksa Djilas was Research Associate, Russian Research Center, Harvard University, from 1987 to 1994.