The autobiography of the youth of the former Vice Presiden of Yugoslovia, which is also the story of a little-know land, Montenegro. Introduction and notes by William Jovanovich. Translated by Michael B. Petrovich.
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Milovan Djilas (1911-1995), dissident Yugoslav Communist leader and writer, born in Polja, Montenegro. He studied law at the University of Belgrade, where he embraced Marxism, and was subsequently imprisoned for political activities. He became a good friend of Tito and by 1940 was a member of the Politburo of the Yugoslav Communist Party. Fighting with Tito's partisans during World War II, he held numerous high posts in the postwar government and was a leading supporter of Tito's break with the USSR in 1948. By 1953 he was vice president under Tito and widely believed to be his chosen successor. Djilas's criticism of Communist rule, however, led to his loss of all positions and his expulsion from the party in 1954. He was imprisoned in 1956. Upon publication in the West of his The New Class (1957), an exposé of the Communist hierarchy, his sentence was extended. His Conversations with Stalin (1962) cost him another four years in jail. Finally released in 1966, he continued to write and publish. Among his other books are Land Without Justice (1958), and Rise and Fall (1983; trans. 1985), an account of his own government career. The New Class was published in Yugoslavia in 1990.Review:
In this first volume of his autobiography, Djilas, former vice-president of Yugoslavia and author of the historically important best-seller The New Class, deals with his life up to the time he departed for the university at eighteen. As readers of The New Class know, Djilas, a Communist, is highly critical of present Communist states, and in his autobiography he carries his search for the ideal state of justice back to earlier times when he was a youth and studies the harsh environment and heroically proud people of turbulent Montenegro that formed him into an intellectual and leader of the revolution. It is a brutal and primitive portrait that he paints, filled with dramatic history and people, recorded with an unsentimental eye and a poet and philosopher's pen. Although overly detailed and repetitious, this is an unusual document by virtue of its subject and its author's world importance. (Kirkus Reviews)
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