The Fracture Zone

A true portrait of one of the world’s most chaotic and beautiful regions that explains why violence has always occurred there — and why it may continue for years to come

The vast and mountainous area that makes up the Balkans is rife with discord, both cultural and topographical. And, as Simon Winchester superbly demonstrates in this intimate portrait of the region, much of the political strife of the past century can be traced to its inherent contrasts. With the aid of a guide and linguist, Winchester traveled deep into the region’s most troublesome areas — including Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Kosovo, and Turkey — just as the war was tearing these countries apart. The result is a book not just about war but also about how war affects the living. Both timeless and current, THE FRACTURE ZONE goes behind the headlines to offer a true picture of a region that has always been on the brink. Winchester’s remarkable journey puts all the elements together — the faults, the fractures, and the chaos — to make sense out of a seemingly senseless place.

“Scholarly and moving … [Winchester] combines historical significance with dramatic insight.”

— Independent on Sunday

“[Winchester's] unsentimental descriptions of the area’s destroyed mosques, burned and virulent graffiti serve as a poignant are gone.”
— Publishers Weekly