Bihalji-Merin, Oto and Nebojsa-Bato Tomasevic (Editors)

Nebojsa Bato Tomasevic, Rajko Djuric, Rajko Uric, Dragoljub Zamurovic

Review of Bato Tomasevic, Life and Death in the Balkans: A family saga in a century of conflict, Hurst and Company, London, 2008

Life and Death in the Balkans: A Family Saga in a Century of Conflict (Columbia/Hurst)

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  • Nikifor is considered to be one of the world’s finest naïve painters. As he traveled through the Polish countryside, observing small hamlets, churches, and cities, he made pictures documenting these places, selling them to earn money. Some accounts estimate the number of drawings he made to be in the thousands. Nikifor often included his own likeness in his compositions, showing himself in the guise of a bishop, judge, or saint. He sometimes referred to himself as “St. Nikifor”. According to Oto Bihalji-Merin and Nebojsa-Bato Tomasevic in the World Encyclopedia of Naïve Art, he was very religious and his convictions were greatly influenced by the orthodox churches he saw. Discussing recurring subjects in his art, Bihalji-Merin and Tomasevic write,

    'Tomasevic happened to be an eyewitness of some major events in post-war Yugoslav history and to know personally many remarkable people....It should be read as a wonderfully balanced account, sensitive and sensible at the same time, of how history was experienced by people who were unreservedly involved in the successive political regimes (his father to royal, and he himself to communist Yugoslavia), but did not belong to the powerful elite of decision- makers.' --European History Quarterly

    'This is a fascinating book. Bato Tomasevic provides an engaging, insightful and often moving account of his and his family's rich history and of his country's turbulent life and death. It also provides an excellent insight into the social history of the early twentieth-century Balkans. Amid a great many books published about former Yugoslavia over the past fifteen years, this one stands out as a moving memoir that often reads like an enthralling historical novel. Tomasevic's book opens a unique window into a lost world of the Balkans in the modern era.' --Dr Dejan Djokic, Goldsmiths College, University of London

  • Bato Tomasevic, born in 1929 in Kosovo, was the seventh child of a Montenegrin family which till 1945 lived in Kosovo and Montenegro. He has written a dozen books, mostly on art, and collaborated with Oto Bihalji-Merin in writing and editing the unique Encyclopedia of World Naive Art.

    Bato Tomasevic, born in 1929, wrote an extraordinary book. It is an autobiography which spans most of the Yugoslav century. Only published in 2008 it is also quite unique (at least in English) in that it takes the story of his Montenegrin family from his birth in 1929 right up to the arrest of Slobodan Milosevic in 2001. Amongst the highlights of this book are his childhood in Mitrovica in Kosovo where his family had settled as colonists after the first world war and his experiences in the second when he joined Tito's Partisans. After the war he became a Yugoslav diplomat and later a journalist and publisher and finally the head of YUTEL, the short-lived, anti-nationalist television station that died with the country it wanted to preserve. Tomasevic now lives in England with his English wife. What is special about this Yugoslav saga is Tomasevic's ability to tell it like it was. That is to say for example that the years of the Second World War are full of revealing and funny vignettes of real life and not just tales of fighting and bloodshed. That is why we have chosen this extract, in which the young boy Tomasevic explains what happens when he goes to find four strangely dressed Italian women who have come to live in Italian-occupied, wartime Cetinje, the historic capital of Montenegro. They have asked him to find eggs for them. The next day, with the eggs, he goes in search of their house:

    Author: 巴托・托马舍维奇著 ; 达洲译. 达洲. ; Bato Tomasevic; Zhou Da
    Publisher: 新华出版社, Beijing : Xin hua chu ban she, 2002.
    Edition/Format:  Print book : Biography : Chinese : Di 1 banView all editions and formats
    Database:WorldCat
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    Subjects
    • Tomasevic, Bato.
    • Yugoslavia -- History.
    • Balkan Peninsula -- History.
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  • Author: Kenneth McKenney; Bato Tomasevic; Gane Aleksic
    Publisher: London : Flint River, 1992.
    Edition/Format:  Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
    Database:WorldCat
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    • Mexico -- Pictorial works.
    • Mexico -- History.
    • Mexico -- Description and travel.
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    ''Gypsies of the World'' fills the eyes with vivid, unstudied images of these people at work, in celebration, in difficulty and in rare moments of ease. These stunning photographs are the remarkable work of Dragoljub Zamurovic, a Yugoslav freelance photographer who accompanied the writers, Nebojsa Bato Tomasevic and Rajko Djuric, on a two-year pilgrimage to gypsy encampments. The earnest text provides the reader a history of gypsy origins and an account of firsthand experience in contemporary settlements.

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Life and Death in the Balkans - Bato Tomasevic

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