Heavenly Serbia

From Myth to Genocide

256 pages

March, 1999

ISBN: 9780814706718

$89

Cloth

Also available in

Subjects:

ReligionHistory

Author

Branimir Anzulovic was born in Zagreb Croatia. He has a degree in philosophy from the University of Zagreb, and a doctorate in comparative literature from Indiana University. He has taught at Prescott College and Indiana University, and worked in the Yugoslav service of the Voice of America in Washington, D.C. He is now an independent researcher residing in Vienna, Virginia. Among his publications are theater and film reviews, and essays in cultural history and literary criticism.

All books by Branimir Anzulovic

As violence and turmoil continue to define the former Yugoslavia, basic questions remain unanswered: What are the forces behind the Serbian expansionist drive that has brought death and destruction to Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Kosovo? How did the Serbs rationalize, and rally support for, this genocidal activity?

Heavenly Serbia traces Serbia's nationalist and expansionist impulses to the legendary battle of Kosovo in 1389. Anzulovic shows how the myth of "Heavenly Serbia" developed to help the Serbs endure foreign domination, explaining their military defeat and the loss of their medieval state by emphasizing their own moral superiority over military victory. Heavenly Serbia shows how this myth resulted in an aggressive nationalist ideology which has triumphed in the late twentieth century and marginalized those Serbs who strive for the establishment of a civil society.

"Modern Serbian nationalism...and its contradictory connections...have been sources of considerable scholarly interest...Branimir Anzulovic's compendium is a good example of the genre, made all the more useful by Anzulovic's excellent command of the literature."
—Ivo Banac, History of Religions

Author interview with CNN: http://www.cnn.com/chat/transcripts/branimir_chat.html

Reviews

  • "In a timely, scholarly work, Branimir Anzulovic brings the two theories together in Heavenly Serbia. He shows how history, religion, myth, and folklore intertwined to lay the groundwork; and how Slobodan Milosevic, a former Communist Party technocrat turned highly skilled manipulator, invoked the past to incite Serbs to create a larger and ethnically pure ‘Greater Serbia.’...All in all, though, the book goes a long way in helping the reader understand the 'hows' and 'whys' of what is happening in the Balkans today."

    —Faye Bowers, Christian Science Monitor

  • "The book's strength consists of illustrating a national ideology woven from myth and historical episode."

    Library Journal , 3/15/99

  • "The book's grasp of Serbian culture extends far beyond the superficial 'ancient hatreds' thesis of Balkan war."

    —Zachary T. Irwin, Pennsylvania State University, Erie

  • "Recommended reading."

    USA Today

  • "Modern Serbian nationalism...and its contradictory connections...have been sources of considerable scholarly interest...Branimir Anzulovic's compendium is a good example of the genre, made all the more useful by Anzulovic's excellent command of the literature."

    —Ivo Banac, History of Religions