Black Lamb and Grey Falcon
Written on the brink of World War II, Rebecca West's classic examination of the history, people, and politics of Yugoslavia illuminates a region that is still a focus of international concern. A magnificent blend of travel journal, cultural commentary, and historical insight, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon probes the troubled history of the Balkans and the uneasy relationships...more
See, that’s just crazy enough to work. Not that I’ve ever tried the experiment myself, but in my better moments, I can almost understand the logic. I’m not even talki ...more
If Naipul were to be given a (small) point indirectly, it would be that West has paid a price for her erudition. She was a poor mother to her only son, and he estranged from her quite early on. The divide freed her up to ga ...more
At almost 1200 pages it’s quite a tome, too heavy and too big even for my shoulder bag, which contains all sorts of fripperies! But I’ve been reading it in bite-sized chunks sin ...more
It's not a book I can recommend lightly -- I read ...more
West's prejudices are plain (pro-Yugoslavia and pro-Serb) which on the whole means you can take them into account as you are reading.
Some of her attitudes come across as overly simplistic maybe even naive - for instance her characterisation of the young thrusting Serb states at various points in history contrasted with fl ...more
Because of her biases, you should not make this book your only source of information if you are at all interested in the history of the Balkans, but she does provide a riveting account of the region’s tumultuous past. What amazes me is how easily she is able to integrate the history of each place that she visits into her description of her own present experienc ...more
I recently read “A Man of Parts,” a sort-of biography of H. G. Wells. Rebecca West was one of his mistresses, with whom he had a child. In her own right, Ms. West was a highly respected author of the times and this book has been called her magnum opus. It certainly is magnum. When I finally got it from the library, I found that it contained over 1,000 pages in a Penguin paperback edition. I was almost afraid to read it. I didn’t want to ...more
Interspersed with centuries of dense historical narrative, West comes up with gems like this description of the Skopje train station: "...the scalp of the years has become dandruffed with undistinguished manufactured good..."
I finally finished it! So good! I'm afraid I'm going to have withdrawal symptoms now. I wish Rebecca West had written a history of every region of the world. But she didn't, so I guess I'll just have to settle for reading this one again, even if it takes me another three years.
Rebecca West de son vivant etait consideree comme un des plus importants ecrivains de l'Angleterre. Pour cette raison la Reine Elisabeth l'a nommee Dame Commander (DBE) en 1959 ce qui est l'equivalent feminine de Sir.
Les romans de Rebecca West avaient des merites mais son chef d'oeuvre est sans doute ce drole livre qui est une histoire de la Yugoslavie deguise ...more
Rebecca West must have been a one of a kind woman, understanding and forgiving. She dwells on all topics through this travel book. There are passages that are so interesting and s ...more
Not that it's a bad book. Rebecca West is awe-inspiringly erudite and she's a good writer. The part where she visits ...more
I picked it up several years ago, drawn particularly by the picture of the bridge at Mostar, which I had seen myself in 1966. One of those sights that's unforgettable. But a thick paperback of 1100+ pages is one that is easy to set aside for another day. A houseguest, sleeping in the room ...more