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Flashpoint: Trieste

A history of the Trieste kerfuffle between Tito and the Allies immediately following WW2, but also an overview of the many warring sides: Non-soviet Allies, the Soviets, Tito’s partisans (“Yugoslavs” but also sometimes “Slovenians” and “Croats”), Chetniks (“Serbs”), Ustashe (“Croats”), Italian communists, Italian fascists, Italian non-communist non-fascist partisans, and let’s not forget the Nazis. Whew… At least the French are out of the picture.

It’s biased towards the Americans and the British, but then that’s not surprising considering the author. All other sides being equally horrible — according to the book at least, and it’s a lazy though intellectually safe stance to make — it manages to be sort of objective but then in a lot of cases resorts to citing some not very objective secondary sources written in the background of a much bigger kerfuffle in the 1990s. Jennings is no Ron Chernow, and even less of a Robert Caro. The region needs someone of Cs’ tenacity and attention to detail to untangle even the footnotes of Balkan history like Trieste. I can’t imagine who would be able to tackle a Power Broker-like biography of Tito, but I’d be happy to read one.

Written by Christian Jennings, 2017

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