Green Books Campiagn – Bosnia: In the Footsteps of Gavrilo Princip
This review is part of the Green Books campaign.Today 200 bloggers take a stand to support books printed in an eco-friendly manner by simultaneously publishing reviews of 200 books printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. By turning a spotlight on books printed using eco- friendly paper, we hope to raise the awareness of book buyers and encourage everyone to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books.
The campaign is organized for the second time by Eco-Libris, a green company working to make reading more sustainable. We invite you to join the discussion on “green” books and support books printed in an eco-friendly manner! A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on Eco-Libris website.
Title: Bosnia: In the Footsteps of Gavrilo Princip
Author: Fabijanćić, Tony
Length: 226 pages
Genre: Non-Fiction, History, Travel
Publisher / Year: The University of Alberta Press / 2010
Source: As part of the Eco-Libris Green Books Campaign
Why I Read It: I chose this book because it sounded very interesting.
Date Read: 03/11/10
First off, you may ask why this book qualifies as a part of the Green Books campaign. If you look at the copyright information page you will see the following statement:
The University of Alberta Press is committed to protecting the environment. As part of our efforts, this books is printed on Enviro Paper: it contains 100% post-consumer recycled fibers and is acid- and chlorine-free.
If you are interested in picking up eco-friendly books, check for a similar disclaimer on books.
Now, on to the book itself. This book is about a character whose name I hadn’t even known. How is that for poor history knowledge. Gavrilo Princip was the man who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand which caused World War 1. The cover reads:
Behind one of the twentieth century’s most infamous events lies the forgotten story of Gavrilo Princip, Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s assassin and unlikely catalyst of the Great War. Inspired by the idealism of the young Princip, Tony Fabijanćić sets off on an unprecedented journey, shadowing the ghost of the assassin from the peasant village of his birth, across the rugged breadth of Bosnia-Herzegovina, to his fateful meeting in Sarajevo with the heir apparent to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. A human portrait of Princip emerges as Fabijanćić, accompanied by his father, plunges us into the roiling heart of Bosnia then and now. Two parallel journeys flow into one compelling story that takes readers interested in Balkans nationalism, political terrorism, and literary travel writing on a unique journey through a complex land.
This book was really interesting, but also really different. It was really two things at once. The first thing that the book was, was a historical look at the man who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. I knew that this assassination had set off WWI, but that was about all I knew. This book gave me a bit of a biography of the man who started it all. We see Princip from a child through to his death, and follow his travels around the area, and learn of the different injustices he faced, and why he thought the assassination was necessary.
We also see what the area is like now, and a bit of what it was like before. The author, along with his father, traveled around following Princip’s travels and recorded what the experience was like. As part of this, the book is full of photographs of places and people that he encountered. The photographs were probably my favorite part. They really brought the scenes to life, and made you able to visualize some of the places mentioned.
One of the themes that Fabijanćić talks about a lot is nationalism. These days many in Serbia consider Princip a hero, while Bosnians think he was a terrorist. The author talks about how things were back in the early 1900′s and how Princip was viewed at the time, and how the later wars in the area changed that. He also, through his travels, gets a feel for what ethnic relations are like at present.
The theme of nationalism sometimes made the book feel a bit disjointed as the author is following Princip’s travels, but he is also talking about things that have happened since. In some parts it felt like there was just too much history being discussed about each place that it didn’t flow as well as it would have if he had focused on just one part of it. That being said, it was very interesting, even if you didn’t, as a reader, get a complete picture.
I felt by times that the author, with this book, tried to be too much by including the travel and the historical aspects, and didn’t fully succeed at either. I didn’t get a true history of the event, nor a good overview of the area. But the bits and pieces that I did get made it a really interesting and worthwhile read that I would recommend to anyone interested in history or in the area.