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 revolves.
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 them right there...
The 20th century was an intensely bloody time for the Balkan region (20th century timeline & maps) as it emerged from centuries of control by the Ottoman Empire, and briefer control by the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, that triggered World War I, took place on the Latin Bridge (also known as the Princip Bridge) in Sarajevo (now the capital of the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina) leading to massive bloodshed across Europe including the Balkans.
The bloodshed in the Balkans during World War II was even worse. The diverse ethnic and political groups living in the area fought among themselves as well as against the Nazis. Yugoslav war casualties topped one million people, and over half a million (mainly ethnic Serbs, ...
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