Yugoslavia’s Great Dictator, A Reassessment

Stevan K. Pavlowitch


119 pp. 6x9

$17.95 paper 978-0-8142-0601-0
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This new biography offers a straighforward, balanced approach to the man who reigned over Yugoslavia for thirty-five years. Stripping away the myths about Tito and his life, Stevan Pavlowitch places him within a larger perspective as a key twentieth-century European leader.

Pavlowitch begins with an examination of the economic, social, and national factors that helped to create Josip Broz Tito. He goes on to consider Tito’s role as a national unifier after the chaos of the Second World War, demonstrating how Tito brought Yugoslavia together by offering something to each of the country’s constituent ethnic communities. While admitting that Tito remains something of a mystery because the important mechanisms of his regime always functioned behind closed doors, Pavlowitch reconciles the various contradictory versions of Tito’s life and policies—as a ruthless revolutionary and an imaginative statesman, as a successfully dogmatic hard-liner and a triumphant heretic, as a good disciple of Soviet Stalinism and the force behind a Yugoslav-style Marxism. According to Pavlowitch, the seeds of Tito’s long-term failure lay in his short-term successes, and the style and substance of his regime provided little more than transient unity.

This study of one of the most influential leaders of the twentieth century, and one of the least understood, is especially valuable today since the collapse of communism and the breakup of Yugoslavia have called into question Tito’s motives, directions, and achievements. General readers and students alike will find it a stimulating guide to the historical continuity of Eastern Europe and the situation there today.

Stevan K. Pavlowitch teaches the history of the Balkans at the University of Southampton, England. He is the author of The Improbably Survivor: Yugoslavia and its Problems, 1918–1988; Anglo-Russian Rivalry in Serbia, 1837–39; Yugoslavia; and Unconventional Perceptions of Yugoslavia, 1940–45.