Serbia

Serbia :: Books

Travel Guides

Short descriptions of Serbia appear in three of Lonely Planet's regional guides listed in the Overview section: Europe on a Shoestring, Eastern Europe, and Southeastern Europe.

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Serbia - The Bradt Guide  (4th edition published August 2013) - Laurence Mitchell

I used the first edition of this guide when I visited Serbia in 2006 and found it very useful. It doesn't cover quite as extensive a selection of destinations as Serbia In Your Hands (below), nor is it as attractively presented, but it is good on the kind of practical details that can trip up foreign visitors. The author is clearly fond of Serbia but doesn't shy away from criticism when necessary. If you want to venture beyond Belgrade and Novi Sad this guidebook is well worth considering.

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Serbia In Your Hands  (3rd edition published December 2012) - Vladimir Dulović

This guidebook is published in Serbia and describes hundreds of places of interest throughout the country. It's very thorough, and handsomely produced with good photos - excellent for deciding where you want to go in advance of a trip. Given that Serbia has lagged so far behind Croatia and Slovenia in promoting itself to foreign tourists, this kind of local effort is good to see.

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How to Conquer Belgrade  (1st edition published May 2007)

This locally produced guidebook aims to provide visitors with an insider's view of the city, taking an honest and wryly humorous look at Serbia's idiosyncractic capital. In addition to the usual descriptions of monuments and museums, you can find out about the best songs to request from a Roma brass band, which cafes are frequented by girls who like books, and which part of the stadium you should sit in at a Red Star home game. The guide comes with a separate map of the city, and is available in six languages.

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Belgrade In Your Pocket

Detailed city guide, with similar guides available for Niš and Novi Sad.

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In Your Pocket

Background Reading

In addition to the books listed here, several of the works on Balkan history listed in the Overview may be of interest. There are substantial sections on Serbia in several books dealing with the former Yugoslavia, including The Impossible Country, Through the Embers of Chaos and Black Lamb and Grey Falcon.

Migrations - Miloš Crnjanski (or Tsernianksi)

He wanted to leave and take them all away with him, away from the mud, the endless wars, the service and obligations, take them away to live as they pleased, free from this frightful discord, free to lead their own lives, the lives they were born to, and search for something beyond the ordinary, something that like the heavens would culminate and cover all else.

This historical novel tells the story of the Isaković brothers, Serbs who have fled Ottoman rule and attempted to make their home in the barely more welcoming Austrian Empire. From the marshes of Vojvodina they roam over the vast expanses of the empire in search of military success or trading opportunities. The novel powerfully evokes the rootlessness and confusion experienced by both major and minor characters. Poignantly, one of the brothers dreamns of finally achieving peace of mind by means of yet one more migration - to Russia.

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A Tomb for Boris Davidovich - Danilo Kiš

While he wrote out the confession in his rough peasant hand, he was observed, from the wall of the modest interrogator's office, by the portrait of the One Who Must Be Believed. Miksha looked up at that portrait, at that good-natured, smiling face, the kind face of a wise old man, so much like his grandfather's; he looked up at him pleadingly, and with reverence.

A collection of loosely connected short stories dealing with dilemnas faced by revolutionaries in various parts of Europe (but not Yugoslavia).

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The Serbs: History, Myth, and the Destruction of Yugoslavia - Tim Judah

I wanted to write about the extraordinary cynicism of the war. Few realise just how much money was made by gangsters, politicians and army officers trading across the front lines. Whole communities became pawns to be pushed across the board like so many chess pieces, but the kings grew rich in the process.

Judah outlines the history of the Serbs and the relationship of that history to the wars of 1991-1995, which are described in detail. I found the later chapters more interesting than the early history. The book describes aspects of the break-up of Yugoslavia not often dealt with elsewhere, such as the effects of hyperinflation on ordinary life in Serbia. Judah is particularly keen to show the breathtaking scale of profiteering on all sides during the Bosnian War.

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