Tito

by Neil Barnett

The charismatic, near-mythological figure of Josip Broz Tito was many things: an inspirational partisan leader and scourge of the Germans during their occupation of Yugoslavia in the Second World War; a doctrinaire communist but an ever-present thorn in Moscow’s side; an oppressor, a dictator, a reformer, and a playboy. He managed Yugoslavia’s internal tensions through personality, force of will, and political oppression. It was only after his death in 1980 that the true scale of this feat was understood; the country’s institutions and politicians were then revealed as rudderless, and the country created by Tito – a Croat turned Yugoslav – collapsed into a bloody and at times genocidal civil war. These ethnic conflicts were Tito’s nightmare, yet, as Neil Barnett shows in this short but engaging biography, they were in many ways the result of his own myopic egomania.

NEIL BARNETT was a journalist specialising on the Balkans and wrote on the region for the Guardian and the Spectator. Today he is the chief executive of Istok Associates, a corporate intelligence and investigations consultancy.

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£12.99