Just 52 days after the Siege of Sarajevo began, 35-year-old
Vedran Smailovic watched as a mortar shell killed 22 of
his friends and neighbors waiting across the street in a
bread line. For the next 22 days, Smailovic took his cello
to the site of their deaths and played the hauntingly
Adagio in G Minor
, the only response he felt he
could make in the face of so horrific an event. It is this
reaction to the inhumanity of a brutal war that forms the
core around which The Cellist of Sarajevo
It is difficult to imagine what it would be like to exist in
a place where the choice of which street to cross and when
to do so is a life and death decision. Galloway's writing
transports readers into exactly those circumstances, putting...
Beyond the Book
The Siege of Sarajevo
continued from main section ....
Tito's death in 1980, as well as the collapse of
Communism a decade later, resulted in a power vacuum,
destabilizing the careful balance Tito had created between
the Balkan republics. Ethnic nationalism, brutally repressed
by the prior regime, experienced a resurgence. Slobodan
Milosevic, leader of the Communist Party in Serbia, took
advantage of the instability, eventually taking control of
the region and of the Yugoslav National Army (JNA).
Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, concerned about Milosevic's
growing power, began to move toward independence from
"Greater Serbia". Despite resistance from the JNA,...