What you find fascinating depends on your understanding of particular set of ideas. This stands true for art, history, literature, computer science or high energy particle physics (list could go on but I’ll stop here).
In this sense Balkans (now called South Eastern Europe in politically correct manner) is something akin to collider – strong forces accelerate particles and collisions of those particles create events that generate myriad of data for scientist to analyse.
This area still did not settle down. Next event on horizon is independence of Kosovo.Last month elections in Serbia produced expected outcome. Voters are split between extreme nationalists and pro-European (whatever that means) parties. No main stream party is ready to accept outright secession of Kosovo and it will be very difficult to form coalition government under those circumstances.
Independence of Kosovo as precedent might have some ripple effects on Bosnia and post Soviet republics. Potential membership in EU might have stabilising effect in this region. Unfortunately there is enlargement fatigue in EU and these prospects look distant.
For sanity reasons I decided to ban myself from reading day to day news on this subject. Although it feels fascinating like live history reality TV, it can be emotionally draining experience if you get too involved. However avoiding it altogether might not be possible once I return.
I found different view of history in A history of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific (or on Amazon ). I read this book shortly after I arrived to New Zealand. Primary focus of the book is formation of identities in this region. Although it might feel that there is relative lack of events in regional history there is underlying complexity of relationships. This becomes evident once you have read book like this. It would be useful to apply similar approach (study of identities) in Balkans and I’m yet to find a book that covers this subject in same manner.