The Trigger tells the story of a young man who changed the world forever. It focuses on the drama of the incident itself by following Prinip s journey. By retracing his steps from the feudal frontier village of his birth, through the mountains of the northern Balkans to the great plain city of Belgrade and ultimately Sarajevo, Tim Butcher illuminates our understanding of Princip the person and the place that shaped him and makes discoveries about him that have eluded historians for a hundred years. Traveling through the Balkans on Princip s trail, and drawing on his own experiences there as a war reporter during the 1990s, Butcher unravels this complex part of the world and its conflicts, and shows how the events that were sparked that day in June 1914 still have influence today. Published for the centenary of the assassination, The Trigger is a rich and timely work, part travelogue, part reportage, and part history."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-04-07
- Reviewer: Staff
Journalist Butcher (Blood River) makes a significant contribution to the growing body of literature on the outbreak of WWI by retracing the physical, mental, and emotional road to Sarajevo for Gavrilo Princip, the Yugoslav nationalist who assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand. Beginning in Princip’s native village, Butcher backpacks and hitchhikes through the still-conflicted lands of Bosnia and Serbia, following the path of a “bibliophile teenager with a highlander’s pedigree and a feeling for the underdog.” What began as a quest for education led Princip ever further to radical nationalism: a vision of “freeing all south Slavs.” Butcher’s vivid sense of place shows—sometimes against his intention—how geography, history, even architecture, both unite and divide Balkan Slavs as they share a “common historical narrative of suffering.” But without an external target like the Ottoman or Habsburg empires, they turn against each other. As a young war correspondent in the 1990s, Butcher covered Yugoslavia’s collapse into mutual genocide, and his evocative interfacing of his experiences with Princip’s is a highlight of the book. Butcher’s “witnessing a war voyeuristically” left him with “a persistent sense of shame” that becomes a counterpoint to the ruination of Princip’s dream—a dream Princip himself unwittingly relegated to futility with two pistol shots. (June)