Sunday, 1 May 2016
Two Bullets in Sarajevo
It tells the story of Princip, a poor student who became wrapped up in the machinations of the Black Hand, a Serbian nationalist organisation who had dreams of gaining freedom from Austria.
The emperor of Austria, Franz Josef has made a determination that there is on way that he could accede to these demands.
So he decides to offer a show of the strength of the empire and dispatches his nephew, Archduke Franz Ferdinand to make an official visit to Sarajevo.
Princip and his cronies decide to murder, in cold blood, the Archduke. And his wife, who in modern parlance, would be considered collateral damage.
The rest, as they say, is history.
The book barely touches upon the Great War, itself. It asks a question that seems to be all too often overlooked in the histories of those turbulent and dreadful times.
The question it asks is: "But what about the personalities behind this bald act of political murder?"
What were the members of the Black Hand like? Did they really think the assassin through?
And what of the apparently unbending Austrian rulers, the hidebound military leaders, the Serbians like Princip and his fellow revolutionaries in the Black Hand? What really motived these people, these Serbian nationalists?
And what about Archduke Franz Ferdinand, often dismissed as a stuffed shirt who would have himself sewn into his military uniforms, it is often claimed?
For far from being the stuffed shirt that he is often portrayed as, Two Bullets in Sarajevo portrays a different side to him, a romantic side that led him to marry, against all Austrian royal court protocols, the woman of his dreams, his beautiful fiancée, Sophie Chotek?
The book is published by Matador at £8.99 and works well as a work of fiction and as a primer for anyone who is a student of that time period and who wants to try to understand what happened then, 100 years ago, that set the world on fire.
It's available through the That's Books and Entertainment bookshop. You'll locate this just to the right hand side of this book review.