Item description for Empire on the Adriatic: Mussolini's Conquest of Yugoslavia 1941-1943 by H. James Burgwyn...
Overview The first full-length treatment of Mussolini's campaign against Yugoslavia reveals a brief but tragic chapter in Balkan history replete with ethnic cleansing and atrocities that set the stage for the violence in the 1990s.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.75" Width: 6.25" Height: 9" Weight: 1.02 lbs.
Release Date Jul 1, 2005
Publisher Enigma Books
ISBN 1929631359 ISBN13 9781929631353
Availability 0 units.
More About H. James Burgwyn
H. James Burgwyn is Emeritus Professor of History at West Chester University. He has contributed articles in learned journals in both America and Europe. He lives in Philadelphia, PA.
Reviews - What do customers think about Empire on the Adriatic: Mussolini's Conquest of Yugoslavia 1941-1943?
A Good Start Dec 22, 2006
I have always been a bit curious about the Italian Army in WWII and the years leading up to it. It seemed that they were always challenged even when attacking Third World countries. I have been looking for a good book about their Albanian campaign but I settled for a book about their greater Balkan campaign. I have nothing against the Italian military force; after all, they created the greatest empire in world history. However, compared to the brutal efficiency of the German military force, the Italians were almost an embarassment.
The author, James Burgwyn, tends to focus on the administrative and political perspective which is fine with me. The bulk of the military activity during this place and time was in fighting the guerilla war of the various partisan groups. The book does a pretty good job of explaining the various ethnic and political groups of the area. Indeed, the Balkans have always been a unique part of the world that, apparently, only Tito could handle. The Italians are portrayed somewhat as well-intentioned forces in search of their spoils of war. Compared to the Germans, they were gentle as sheep but that misses the point. Is a gentle rapist to be portrayed in a positive light because there are more violent ones in the neighborhood? In fairness to Burgwyn, he concludes his book in a critical assessment of the Italians but we have already been treated to a number of tales of Italian compassion by then.
"Empire on the Adriatic" is more scholarly than popularly written yet Burgwyn does not fall into the pitfalls of academic obfuscation in his style of writing. It reads well enough but doesn't carry the passionate impact that the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent people deserve. It's almost as though we are left wondering "When did that happen?"
The death of Tito opened the doors to centuries-old passions and hatreds. The Balkans are still a cauldron of ethnic animosities that are only partially controlled by a NATO presence. There are obvious comparisons of the fall of Saddam Hussein to the fall of Tito. "Empire on the Adriatic" is relevent today because of its' reminders of what it is like to tame a people bent on revenge.
Mussolini's War in Yugoslavia Jun 1, 2006
The Italian occupation of the former Yugoslavia during World War II has been put under the historical microscope by author H. James Burgwyn in his splendid new book "Empire on the Adriatic."
For anyone seeking fresh insights into this troubled part of the world, Burgwyn's book is essential reading. Italy's mis- guided invasion of Yusoslavia remains an indelible stain on the Italian body politic to this day. And when we look at the continued struggles of the Slavs today, we can see the germs of this struggle in Mussolini's efforts to turn Yugos- lavia into an Italian sphere of influence during World War II.
Burgwyn details the cycle of violence and genocide that was triggered after the Axis powers struck in April 1941 by Croa- tian Ustasa killers and pitiless Communist insurgency. This served as a prelude to the horrific massacres that took place in the region in the 1990s. The author examines in scholarly detail the egregious behavior of Itaian forces and the mistaken and harsh policies they were obliged to follow during the occupation. Having gained permission to study Italian military and diplomatic archives as well as military archives in Belgrade, the author is able to show per- suasively that Mussolini's blind ambition to bring a superior civilization to a conquered nation ended in ashes.
The sad reality that Burgwyn exposes--without dealing with this period of history at all--is the degree to which in num- bing fashion history has repeated itself. For the United States is suffering from the same kinds of misjudgments that led to the invasion of Iraq: lack of preparation, an inade- quate ground force and no coherent occupation policy to follow. The same kind of extreme difficulties Italian troops encountered in Yugoslavia when confronted by strong oppo- sition forces from insurgents and terrorists have been occurring in Iraq some sixty plus years later. Just as in Iraq, when Mussolini's troops marched into a prostrate country, he--like Bush and his cohorts--fully expected that the occu- pation would be "a piece of cake."
This book is a sobering reminder that hitory has much to teach us, if only we care to learn its lesson.
An objective study May 17, 2006
Professor Burgwyn's excellent study of the Italian invasion of Yugoslavia during World War II is likely to be the definitive work on the subject for some time to come. Chronicling Mussolini's invasion requires a great deal of patience and judiciousness, since the cast of characters is large and the main plot breaks down into numerous sub-plots. Moreover, giving an objective account of what happened is not easy, since many observers who write about this murky period have axes to grind. Burgwyn, however, does not base his work mainly on secondary sources. Digging in official archives, he has fashioned a concise and clear narrative out of refractory material. His book, as a leaading historian of the period has said, is an important contribution to the history of World War II.
Very fine, but... Jan 12, 2006
This is a good and useful book. It is about time that somebody wrote it. I don't think it's hard enough on the Italians, but how can we complain about historians when the real crime was that there was no Nuremberg for the Italians. Modern Italy is built on a lie about World War II and Prof. Burgwyn has performed a wonderful service in starting to chip away at that lie.
My following complaint about this book says something about the fledgling state of this scholarship. This is a careless book but it was bound to be a careless book precisely because so little work has been done in this area. The real problem is that Prof. Burgwyn does not know the local languages. So he gets the spelling wrong or he puts in Ljubljana events that took place in Zagreb, etc. The reader who is knowledgeable can easily make these corrections in his mind as he reads along. It is a shame that Prof. Burgwyn did not have an editor that could have found some of these mistakes or that he did not give his proofs to someone who knows the local languages. If I, an amateur, can catch such mistakes, I suspect a professional could have found others.
Here is an example of a crucial one. Prof. Burgwyn says that the Slovenian Communist secret police was called the OF. No, OF (Osvobodilna Fronta) stands for Liberation Front. It was the VOS that was the Secret Police of the OF. No big deal? The problem is that if an amateur catches mistakes like that about things he knows, how can he then really trust Prof. Burgwyn elsewhere.
What's the solution? More scholarly co-operation! Also, perhaps funds should be made available for translating local histories into English. There are Italian versions of this history and many of them are lies. There is now Prof. Burgwyn's excellent version in English. But the Slovenian versions, for instance, are not available.
P.S. Prof. Burgwyn's love of the expression ballon d'essai drove me crazy. In English we call it a trial balloon.