A Concise History of Serbia

book covers

A Concise History of Serbia, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023
Serbian edition: Istorija Srbije. Od ranog srednjeg veka do danas, Novi Sad: Akademska knjiga, 2023

Reviews and endorsements

‘Dejan Djokić takes the reader on a fascinating journey into Serbia´s turbulent past from prehistory to the present day, tracing key political, social, and institutional developments. Written with the benefit of hindsight after the collapse of Yugoslavia, the book offers a well-balanced analysis of historical continuities and discontinuities. This thought-provoking synthesis is highly recommended to all interested in the Balkan region.’
Marie-Janine Calic - Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München

‘History writing of the highest standard: richly informed, superbly lucid, clear-eyed in judgments yet not judgmental: Djokic has the rare gift of connecting distant history to urgent questions of the present, while never losing sight of the humans who made and lived this history. If he can be devastatingly critical, Djokic also envisions and celebrates a better Serbia, one true to national traditions and sentiments; he not only tells a full and absorbing story of the Serb past, but also explains what the past, often cruel but sometimes edifying, has meant to Serbs, and the peoples with whom they share this diverse region.’
John Connelly - University of California, Berkeley

‘This book establishes Djokić as the leading contemporary historian of Yugoslavia and especially Serbia, [it] demonstrates his enormous knowledge, a talent for identifying key [developments] … and an exquisite writing style … This is a seminal work … the best history of [Serbia] and its path to statehood written so far, a book that was needed. Djokić's modern and original approach, which emphasizes plurality of [Serbia's] society and contributions [to the making of Serbia] by members of minorities, marginalized groups and individuals who were never in power, sets an example of how to write great national histories.’
Dejan Jović, Tragovi (Zagreb) [read more]

‘Djokic has prudently accomplished the enormous task of writing a national history spanning far more than a millennium - as far as can be judged. For the task is of course not only beyond the knowledge of a single historian, even one as scrupulous as Djokic, but also of any reviewer attempting to evaluate this remarkable work.’
Michael Martens, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung [read more]

‘This book is a helpful introduction to Serbian history and admirably sums up the most important historical approaches to this nation’s past … Recommended.’
T. R. Weeks, Choice

‘Dejan Djokić’s Concise History of Serbia surveys the entire scope of Serbian history from the arrival of the Slavs in southeastern Europe to the present. It has no competitor in English…Much historical work on Serbia in the past forty years has been written in either a contentious or a defensive stance – and often both. When Yugoslavia failed and conflict ensued, historians were at the forefront of the search for those to blame for the failure and its outcome. Djokić refused to engage in that process in writing this book, which is to his and his book’s immense credit. Instead, his writing is measured, his analysis unemotional, the effect normalizing. Djokić has written an excellent history of Serbia that places that country and its people in their proper context – as Europeans and as humans. He rarely responds to background noise from those who either glorify or vilify his subjects…A Concise History of Serbia is an excellent book that promises to be the standard work on its subject in English for the foreseeable future.’
Nick Miller, Canadian Slavonic Papers [read more]

‘…an important new book…[an] ambitiously definitive history [of Serbia and Serbs]’.
John R. Lampe, Tokovi istorije (Belgrade) [read more]

‘Dejan Djokić offers a modern interpretation of the Serbs’ past, and that of other peoples who have lived together with them…the author’s original approach and his analysis of historical phenomena and processes have enriched the historiography and should stimulate fresh rethinking and reassessment of the Serbian historical experience.’
Aleksandra Vuletić, Istorijski časopis (Belgrade) [read more]

‘Djokić skilfully and elegantly enriches the main narrative with often marginalized stories about women, sexual, religious, and ethnic minorities, sports, music, education, or medical history. The book will probably challenge some existing stereotypes and will contribute to a better understanding of Serbian past, present and future prospects. As such, it will be of use both for the international academic community and for anyone professionally or personally interested in learning about Serbia…. Care to detail is visible in every part of the book be it with heart-warming dedication at the end of acknowledgements or carefully selected maps and images or further reading recommendations.’
Mirko Savković, Balcanica Posnaniensia. Acta et studia (Poznań)[read more]

Book talks, podcasts and launches

11 April 2024, Maynooth University: ‘On constructing and writing a national history today: the case of Serbia’, followed by comments from Robert Gerwarth and Siniša Malešević

7 March 2024, University College London, SSEES: A Concise History of Serbia, book launch and discussion, with Dejan Djokić (the author), Bojan Aleksov, Cathie Carmichael, Jasna Dragović-Soso, Vesna Goldsworthy, details TBC

23 October 2023, Launch of the Serbian edition of the book at the Belgrade Book Fair, Dejan Djokić (the author) in conversation with Mijat Lakićević and Bora Babić (publisher, director of Akademska knjiha, Novi Sad) [red more]

2 June 2023, Humboldt University of Berlin: Book discussion: A Concise History of Serbia (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2023)
Speakers: Professor Dejan Djokić, author, and Professor John Connelly. Convener: Professor Hannes Grandits, Berliner Forschungskolloquium Südosteuropa and Südosteuropa-Gesellschaft [red more]

11 May 2023, Bundsezentrale fuer politische Bildung, Berlin: How to write a national history in a global and transnational age?
Historian Dejan Djokić, author of 'A Concise History of Serbia' (Cambridge, 2023) in conversation with writer Vesna Goldsworthy [red more]

28 April 2023, Arhiv Srba u Hrvatskoj and journal 'Tragovi'
Zagreb: 'A Concise History of Serbia' book launch, Professor Dejan Djokić, author, in conversation with Professor Dejan Jović, editor of 'Tragovi' [red more]

25 April 2023, A Concise History of Serbia
New Books Network podcast, with Iva Glišić [red more]

7 February 2023, How to Write the History of Serbia at the Crossroads of the National, the Regional and the Global
Cambridge University Press blog [red more]

26 Jan 2023, Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich: Book launch: A Concise History of Serbia
Professor Dejan Djokić, the book author, in conversation with Professor Marie-Janine Calic [red more]

2023: How to Write the History of Serbia at the Crossroads of the National, the Regional and the Global
Cambridge UP blog about Dejan's latest book [red more]

2022: Intervju Dejan Đokić: Srpska nacija nije homogena kategorija
An interview with Novi Magazin (Belgrade) [red more]


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