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Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,102 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Logavina Street was a microcosm of Sarajevo, a six-block-long history lesson. For four centuries, it existed as a quiet residential area in a charming city long known for its ethnic and religious tolerance. On this street of 240 families, Muslims and Christians, Serbs and Croats lived easily together, unified by their common identity as Sarajevans. Then the war tore it all ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 17th 2012 by Spiegel & Grau (first published June 1st 1996)
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Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, balkans, non-fiction
The stories of Balkin conflict have always been painfully close to home. Though I was just 12 at the beginning of the Bosnian war, and safely half a world away in Australia, I remember vividly the protests in the streets, the side-eyes Croatian and Serbian immigrants gave each other and my father, foreign newspaper forever in disarray in his lap, images of Bosnians screaming, crying on the front page.

Much like the people of Sarajevo who lived harmoniously together for centuries, in spite of the
Feb 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
You look ahead of you.  You look in front of you.  You look behind you.  Everyone you see looks like your race, like your ethnicity, like YOU.

But, there are issues.  There are problems within some of you.  After the fall of Yugoslavia, your government decides to secede and now you represent the antithesis of what others want; you are a target for violence. Political structures in ruins, people become barbaric in nature; others are killing your friends because of what ethnicity they c
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
Many years ago, when I was very young and very intense about my belief that the world was capable of being saved, I went to a talk at the 92nd Street Y by some writer I admired. I can't remember who it was, now. What I do remember is that the writer used the talk to speak passionately and eloquently about the then-recent 50th anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising and linked that to then on-going Siege of Sarajevo. It was heartbreaking. I hadn't really been following the story before then - I ...more
The 1995 version is amended with a revisit in 2011. The opportunity to rewrite the whole book into something much better was lost. The telling of the Siege of Sarajevo is always maddening mysterious and desperately sad. This book focuses on the residents of one street and the mix of Moslems, Serbs, Jews and Christians. It works in parts but not as a whole.
The 1995 version is amended with a revisit in 2011. The opportunity to rewrite the whole book into something much better was lost. The telling of the Siege of Sarajevo is always maddening mysterious and desperately sad. This book focuses on the residents of one street and the mix of Moslems, Serbs, Jews and Christians. It works in parts but not as a whole.
How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone remains the best book I've read of this period in the Balkans.
Sep 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012, 2019
Second reading August 2019:

I loved and lived and breathed this book years before I even went to Sarajevo and on a second reading, now that I've been there, it has earned a place on my list of all-time faves. It is so true to the feeling you get in that city and I only wish I could have brought a copy of it with me on my trip so I could cross-reference every page.

Things that stood out to me on this reading
1. How well this book does something that similar books someti
Lorenzo Berardi
"Besieged" is a book about life in war time Sarajevo wrote by Barbara Demick in 1996 after spending some time there at various intervals between 1992 and 1995 as the correspondent of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The reason why this stuff has recently been re-published is the success recently gained by "Nothing to Envy" the brilliant book by Mrs Demick about life under the North Korean communist regime.

There is, therefore, a gap of almost 15 years and more than 5 thousand mil
Dec 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My feeling is mixed reading the book. I know that life in the Seige of Sarajevo in the 90's was difficult but it turned out to be unimaginably harsh. I have no idea that people struggled for years to live a normal life in the most absurd circumstances (no electricity, no gas, no security and no nothing). It was naive of me to think that no one would stay in the centre of the war zone but the truth was most did not leave Sarajevo, a place where they call 'Home'.

The news coverage and TV footages
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm fascinated and horrified by the Bosnian war, and especially the siege of Sarajevo. It's almost incomprehensible that brutal siege took place in the 1990's under the watchful eye of the UN and NATO and western governments. I've read fictional accounts of the conflict, but this is the first non-fiction account I've read. Barbara Demick encapsulates the brutality of the Sarajevo siege by concentrating on one street in Sarajevo. She tells the story of the families along that street, and it is a ...more
Apr 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
I remember the events of Sarajevo, but if I ever knew the causes, I had forgotten them. Barbara Demick, at the time a young foreign correspondent living and reporting from Sarajevo throughout its civil war, beautifully captures both the spirit of the people of Sarajevo and the nightmare they endured.

For centuries a city where religions coexisted peacefully (30% of marriages were of mixed religious backgrounds), fashionable and affluent Sarajevo became a war zone when Serbian national
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I knew the street I wanted to write about the first time I walked up it. Even battered by war, it was a beautiful street…”

Logavina Street is a marvel. A hard-hitting, unflinching look at the two years Demick spent on this “six-block long history lesson”. She followed along with several families, in this Sarajevo neighborhood, as they led their daily lives, under a terrifying siege. Sniper fire and mortar-attacks came in a flash, leaving carnage and destruction. Dealing with food sho
Diane S ☔
Mar 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is just something so incredibly poignant and heartbreaking when one reads about real families in a war zone trying to keep living somewhat normal lives in very unnormal and dangerous circumstances. This book really brought the Bosnian Serbian conflict home to me. When people are forced to live in the backrooms or inner rooms of their homes, trying to keep their families safe and healthy, with very little in the way of food or medical care, work their gardens while being randomly bombed or ...more
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Certainly it’s an informative book, however the writing style is not very attractive. It’s like a continuous interview with people. Repeating facts. Although the nature of a war story is like the repetition of everyday pain, but once a reader gets to know about this pain, it doesn’t matter if the pain is said out loud utterly in every page of the book.
Mar 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Completely riveting, completely nonfiction, and a pretty complete view of the Siege of Sarajevo while focusing on such a small sliver of the city.
Feb 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few years ago we traveled through the old Yugoslavia and I was stunned by the still battered and bullet holed buildings. I was especially drawn to Sarajevo’s history during the Bosnian-Serb War in the early 90’s. This war was only 25 years ago and I cannot understand how the US was not better informed. Sarajevo, a modern, beautiful, multicultural city was surrounded by the Serb armies who were ordered to shell the city, especially Muslim neighborhoods. Food deliveries we blocked. For weeks at ...more
Jun 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013
I have read a few books on the Bosnia conflict and they have always left me frustrated as to what it was all about. Listening to the cast of characters in Barbara Demick's book you get a better sense of how the conflict evolved and why Sarajevo, once a proud multi cultural city, became the epicentre of the conflict. Demick skillfully depicts the fear and frustration of the neighbours on Logavina street and their determination to remain in their city throughout the years of bombardment where a vi ...more
Jul 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Author Rabih Alameddine invited me to a literature festival in Sarajevo in 2016. During that trip, the Serb Bosnian general who fought on the Bosnian side, Jovan Divjak, took us around town. We spoke to him in French. He showed us graves, locations from which the Serbs shot and launched mortars at Sarajevo's civilians. In 1991, I had just moved to the U.S., while a war had started in Bosnia. I was largely ignorant then. During my trip, I spoke to many locals, and I don't recall meeting someone who didn't ...more
Jun 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
(4.0) What Sarajevo (or at least one predominantly Muslim enclave) was like in the 90s

Loved Nothing to Envy, so was eager to read more by Demick, uncharacteristically good author for a journalist. This was powerful as well, gives clear picture of what life was like in Sarajevo. I learned a lot about the political, social and military history of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Bosnia in particular, as the Serbs tried to prevent Bosnia from seceding as a predominantly Muslim independ
Sarah Palmer
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read Nothing to Envy a few years ago and it was one of my favorite books, so I have been looking forward to reading this since it was gifted to me. The tragedy in Syria inspired me to pick this book up because I knew there were similarities. Besieged gives a glimpse of what it was like to live in Sarajevo during the war and a historical outline of events from a very human perspective. It causes you to think about what divides us, what can bring us together, how many conveniences we take for gr ...more
May 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading this book, even though it made me feel somewhat ashamed to be associated with "America." I was in high school when the Bosnian War was happening, but this journalistic piece of writing educated me the most about the reasons behind the war, the outcome of the war, and the war's place in history. But the author also beautifully captured the human side of the war....the sorrows, joys, dreams, fears, and beliefs of a people who were broadsided by this unnecessary war and end ...more
Kara Loffelmacher
Having studied the Siege of Sarajevo since it began in 1992, each book I read on the subject gives me a clearer understanding of the events that took place there, of the terror inflicted, of the emotion/s felt, of how each person and family's story differs, and yet has common currents. I loved this book and highly recommend it to people who love this place as I do, or simply want to try and understand a part of the world they may not come from.
Lauren orso
Feb 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read2011
i felt like this was missing something that "nothing to envy" had, but demick is clearly a great journalist, and i've really been enjoying her work.

everything i knew about sarajevo til this point was from reading zlata's diary about 15 years ago (i just took it out of the library for a reread today!), so this was a good refresher and a really interesting story about the trauma of war and recovery.
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
"The 'Jerusalem of Europe'- a city of Muslims and Catholic and Orthodox and Jews"
By sally tarbox on 29 October 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Published in 1996 and written by a journalist stationed in Sarajevo, covering the war years, this is a moving and vivid portrayal of the lives and experiences of the people of just one street in the Bosnian capital.
I learned so much from this extremely readable account. The racial differences which we tend to perceive as cut and dried we
Ivana Godula
Barbara Demick is a war reporter who focused on lives of inhabitants in one street in Sarajevo during the war in Bosnia. Moreover, she returned to the Logavina street more than a decade after the war to see the changes and in the epilogue, she is also stating some contemporary challenges in BiH. The book does not take a reader into depths of anyones life, however, it offers a broad scope of experiences, problems, opinions and feelings of many people from one street during and after the war. In t ...more
Samantha Anthony
Important book for anyone interested in what happened in Sarajevo and Bosnia in general in the early 90s. Before reading this book, I only knew that Sarajevo was a place where "something bad had happened pretty recently". This book is told from the perspective of an American journalist in Sarajevo during the siege/war, telling the stories of people living on one street in central Sarajevo. (though she comes and goes from the city and travels in armored cars, unlike the actual residents of the ci ...more
Barbara Demick does an amazing job not only in covering what happened in Bosnia but in humanizing the conflict and those forced to live and endure as conflict came to their homes on Logavina Street in Sarajevo. I have long believed that the only way to really understand conflict and war, we need to not hear from government officials or military officers, but the voices and experiences of ordinary people impacted on a daily basis. This book does exactly that. I read the 2012 edition that includes ...more
Shaima Faisal
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well.. this is a book you read after visiting the country! When I decide to travel somewhere I start reading about it before I travel in order to better grasp the country and its culture. However, for Bosnia and Herzegovina the situation was different. Because of lack of books about this beautiful country and about the 90s war, it was hard for me to find information or even books/novels relevant to my trip. So, luckily for me when I was wandering around in a local market i found this book and de ...more
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fast, accessible read if you can stomach what you are reading. Originally written in 1996, it was updated in 2011, which is necessary because you want to find out what happened to the residents of the street. There is one update that is so appalling, you might throw the book.

It's also an excellent and frightening reminder that if this kind of conflict breaks out in the US, nothing will save us. No one ever learns from history, this same thing is still happening right now, and there is nothing
Ondrej Bures
Aug 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
During my stay in Sarajevo, I felt like history of the city was wrapping me around with all the ruins, holes in houses and memorials. This book helped me understand the whole situation, why did it happen in the first place, how did the city look like during the war and what were the outcomes. I would probably rate it differently if I was either living in Sarajevo all my life or if I had no knowledge of the conflict at all, but the fact that I had only shallow knowledge of the war prior to my vis ...more
Andrew Clement
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very informative text that chronicles the experiences of a group of families in Sarajevo during the 1992-1995 siege of the city. Rather than a dry historical account, the book sets their everyday perils against the larger historical events of the 1990's Balkan conflicts. This personal perspective is important, as it gives you some idea of what it was like to live through the siege.
Worth while for those interested in the history of the region, told in a narrative format.
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Just got my giveaway copy in the mail today 2 8 Jun 24, 2012 10:20PM  

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Barbara Demick is an American journalist. She is currently Beijing bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times. She is the author of Logavina Street: Life and Death in a Sarajevo Neighborhood (Andrews & McMeel, 1996). Her next book, Nothing to Envy: Ordinary Lives in North Korea, was published by Spiegel & Grau/Random House in December 2009 and Granta Books in 2010.

Demick was corresp
“When you work, you don’t have time to do anything stupid. When you work ten hours a day, you forget everything. We have to forget. There is no looking back, only forward.” In” 1 likes
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