web site hit counter The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return - Ebooks PDF Online
Hot Best Seller

The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return

Availability: Ready to download

A young survivor of the Bosnian War returns to his homeland to confront the people who betrayed his family At age eleven, Kenan Trebincevic was a happy, karate-loving kid living with his family in the quiet Eastern European town of Brcko. Then, in the spring of 1992, war broke out and his friends, neighbors and teammates all turned on him. Pero - Kenan's beloved karate coac A young survivor of the Bosnian War returns to his homeland to confront the people who betrayed his family At age eleven, Kenan Trebincevic was a happy, karate-loving kid living with his family in the quiet Eastern European town of Brcko. Then, in the spring of 1992, war broke out and his friends, neighbors and teammates all turned on him. Pero - Kenan's beloved karate coach - showed up at his door with an AK-47 - screaming: You have one hour to leave or be killed! Kenan's only crime: he was Muslim. This poignant, searing memoir chronicles Kenan's miraculous escape from the brutal ethnic cleansing campaign that swept the former Yugoslavia. After two decades in the United States, Kenan honors his father's wish to visit their homeland, making a list of what he wants to do there. Kenan decides to confront the former next door neighbor who stole from his mother, see the concentration camp where his Dad and brother were imprisoned, and stand on the grave of his first betrayer to make sure he's really dead. Back in the land of his birth, Kenan finds something more powerful--and shocking--than revenge.


Compare

A young survivor of the Bosnian War returns to his homeland to confront the people who betrayed his family At age eleven, Kenan Trebincevic was a happy, karate-loving kid living with his family in the quiet Eastern European town of Brcko. Then, in the spring of 1992, war broke out and his friends, neighbors and teammates all turned on him. Pero - Kenan's beloved karate coac A young survivor of the Bosnian War returns to his homeland to confront the people who betrayed his family At age eleven, Kenan Trebincevic was a happy, karate-loving kid living with his family in the quiet Eastern European town of Brcko. Then, in the spring of 1992, war broke out and his friends, neighbors and teammates all turned on him. Pero - Kenan's beloved karate coach - showed up at his door with an AK-47 - screaming: You have one hour to leave or be killed! Kenan's only crime: he was Muslim. This poignant, searing memoir chronicles Kenan's miraculous escape from the brutal ethnic cleansing campaign that swept the former Yugoslavia. After two decades in the United States, Kenan honors his father's wish to visit their homeland, making a list of what he wants to do there. Kenan decides to confront the former next door neighbor who stole from his mother, see the concentration camp where his Dad and brother were imprisoned, and stand on the grave of his first betrayer to make sure he's really dead. Back in the land of his birth, Kenan finds something more powerful--and shocking--than revenge.

30 review for The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kavita

    I did not know much about the Bosnian War even though it was always in the news in the 90s. I just never paid attention to the details, being too busy with school and friends. As Kenan Trebincevic should have been. Instead, he was fighting bullets, being bullied by ex-friends, and exiled from his homeland. The book starts with Trebincevic's list for his upcoming trip back to Bosnia. The list is a poignant one and includes meeting long-lost friends and relatives, visiting cemeteries to honour the I did not know much about the Bosnian War even though it was always in the news in the 90s. I just never paid attention to the details, being too busy with school and friends. As Kenan Trebincevic should have been. Instead, he was fighting bullets, being bullied by ex-friends, and exiled from his homeland. The book starts with Trebincevic's list for his upcoming trip back to Bosnia. The list is a poignant one and includes meeting long-lost friends and relatives, visiting cemeteries to honour the war dead, and confronting old enemies to find out why they suddenly turned their backs to the Trebincevics. Trebincevic manages to tick off all of them at the end of his trip. The book has two tracks: one in the past and one in the present. The present talks about Kenan's nostalgia for a Bosnia that no longer exists. It also is the setting for the Trebincevic men (Kenan, his brother, and his father) to plan a trip back to their old country. The second track is that of the old war in the 90s. Kenan is then twelve years old and takes his time to grasp the evil that suddenly erupts around him. A well-loved and well-adjusted child is suddenly thrust into the middle of a genocidal civil war and those he thought loved him suddenly turn on him for no logical reason. This is Kenan's story, but also that of his family and his country. Of course, the 90s track was the more interesting, but I was glad for the opportunity to get to know Kenan after he became as successful physiotherapist, a great revenge on those who had marked him out for murder and failure. The present storyline also provided a bit of relief from the constant despair of the 90s storyline. This was the best possible way for this particular story to be told. Even in the first pages, I caught on to the love between Kenan and his brother, Eldin. I knew right away that I would enjoy this book. I enjoyed the relationship between the brothers. Kenan begins with a trip to an old Yugoslavian nightclub in New York and begins to explain a bit of the culture, history, and other snippets of life in Yugoslavia. Trebincevic takes a lot of effort to explain to normal readers all about his country's culture and his old life there. The description of the gradual ostracising of the Trebincevic family was heartbreaking, especially since it was told from the eyes of a 12-year old. Kenan's beloved karate coach suddenly became a raving fanatic, as did his favourite class teacher. Why? These are the questions that Kenan wants an answer for. And indeed, these are the questions every sane person wonders about. Whatever makes normal people turn evil during certain times? The political and the personal are enmeshed together quite effortlessly and provide a comprehensive view of the Bosnian genocide from a very personal viewpoint. The book also depicts the power of forgiveness. Ultimately, there are no answers to some questions. One just has to forgive (never forget), remember, move on, and succeed. Which the Trebincevics all did!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fran Johnson

    This may be the best book I have ever read...and I have read some good books. I bought this book on the way into the library to hear its author, Kenan Trebincevic, speak. I heard him speak and it was interesting. I came home and started to read and I have to admit I hardly put it down. I just finished it today (Thursday) and it fairly knocked my socks off. It was interesting, suspenseful, enlightening, but most of all it truly shows how living well is the best revenge. One of the most disturbing This may be the best book I have ever read...and I have read some good books. I bought this book on the way into the library to hear its author, Kenan Trebincevic, speak. I heard him speak and it was interesting. I came home and started to read and I have to admit I hardly put it down. I just finished it today (Thursday) and it fairly knocked my socks off. It was interesting, suspenseful, enlightening, but most of all it truly shows how living well is the best revenge. One of the most disturbing things about the Balkan War was that people who had been friends and neighbors for years suddenly turned on each other, based on their religion. Bosnians were humiliated and killed by their next door neighbors, their homes confiscated, their possessions stolen, because they were Muslims. Trebincevic and his brother take their Father home to Bosnia after twenty years in New York. Neither of the sons want to go but Trebincevic makes a list of what he wants to accomplish while there. He went seeking revenge and answers. He got both but was surprised with what else he achieved. I now know the power of forgiveness. I SO recommend this book to everyone.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kellie

    Last night I got shaken up by a book that I read. I've always wanted to write in a manner whereby the characters of books would follow my readers around and jolt them into thinking, but I find that I am unable to write and that characters from the books that I read follow me around and story lines jolt me. This electrifying book was an advance reader copy (arc) of a book by Kenan Trebincevic called "The Bosnian List." It is due to come out on February 25. I am supposed to read for pleasure at my Last night I got shaken up by a book that I read. I've always wanted to write in a manner whereby the characters of books would follow my readers around and jolt them into thinking, but I find that I am unable to write and that characters from the books that I read follow me around and story lines jolt me. This electrifying book was an advance reader copy (arc) of a book by Kenan Trebincevic called "The Bosnian List." It is due to come out on February 25. I am supposed to read for pleasure at my bookstore, and I have to read for my writing class, so I finally have to carve out time to read. I find that I go for memoir, I suppose because a fourth grade teacher told me that everyone has amazing stories to share, and that the greatest battles fought are won and lost privately, at kitchen tables or when someone is going someplace else and not aware of them. This book was no exception. It's about the transformation of the author wanting to go to Bosnia to extract revenge on people who hurt his family during the war of 1992-1995. He escaped along with his brother and parents, and every member of his close knit family-- aunts and uncles and cousins who stayed in Bosnia-- survived. His immediate family came to the US and thrived. He and his brother became physical therapists. His parents lived long enough to see their sons succeed before his mom died of cancer several years later. While in Bosnia, his family had been successful, and they had lots of friends; Kenan had been a star pupil in his school. The war started and neighbors turned against his family. A teacher tried to shoot him and steal the bread that he had procured for his family, but the gun jammed and young Kenan stole back his bread and escaped. Kenan’s friends wouldn’t play soccer or work out with him in the karate hall anymore. He would return to Bosnia as a man, and put pieces of his life together to make sense of it all, realizing that his reward wasn’t in going back and saying certain things to certain people or in asking them tough questions. Karma has a way of setting things straight and even being cruel, thus he chose his battles, sometimes fighting demons he didn’t expect, and other times letting them die, and forgiving people who had wronged his family. The book unearthed a memory that I’d forgotten, from early 1996 when I was going through some personal issues and the taxi driver who often came to drive me places had just asked me out as he took me to the university. I knew he was from Bosnia and I couldn’t tell the difference between Bosnian Muslims and Serbian Christians. I can’t remember what I said to him to set him off, it may have been this: “You are all White, how can you tell the difference?” or it may have been when I told him my friend’s name (I’d later find out that she had a Serbian name) and he started driving on sidewalks and swearing about “those Serb bastards” in English and, it sounded like at least two of his other languages. I arrived at school somewhat shaken up, but I laughed about the situation with some friends in the campus cafeteria. He was in America then, so what did he need to worry about? They were fighting, they just needed to get out! Problem solved! I had no idea how hard this could be, not just in getting the correct paperwork together to leave their country, but also emotionally in leaving everything they knew behind and starting from the bottom. Because of Kenan’s book, I understand more about what had happened and can imagine what my taxi driver friend may have gone through. When I asked if he saw any of the fighting, I am sure that I asked with the same blandness that one would ask about seeing sunsets over the Grand Canyon to a friend visiting Arizona. I wish that when my taxi driver friend got upset that I had responded with empathy instead of nervous giggles and then blowing him off. I wish that if I was going to ask such personal questions that I had asked him what had happened over there. You know, I watched news almost every day until the internet became popular and efficient a few years after that. I remember seeing shootings and stories of Kosovo and calling it “a conflict.” What part of seeing footage of truckloads of corpses, potholes in roads in which you could hide a car, and the term “ethnic cleansing” being used over and over did I not understand? Just as people were murdered not “killed” in the Holocaust, people were being murdered in the Bosnian War. It may not have been as long as the Holocaust, but there were similarities in the evil and totality done to many. It was not a conflict, it was a war, yet I think that I used the term conflict for years. Thousands of innocent men, women, and children in a population where just a generation before had been uprooted and subjected to terrible living conditions, starvation and often death, were once again driven from their homes, subjected to terrible things, and often murdered. A family member was on FB right after I read the book. I told him how terrible I was back in 1996 and how insensitive I was, and he assured me that I was all right, “You were stuck in your frame of mind. You didn’t know and you were unmarried and pregnant with your own drama going on!” He was right, but I feel terrible now that I finally “get” what was happening. Entire families were being murdered in ethnic cleansings, and neighbors were turning on each other. I heard it on the news and didn't absorb it and I thought the taxi driver was just a little nuts. My childhood dream of writing is proving to be exhausting emotionally, but I am glad for my eyes being constantly opened. I think that part of the value of literature is that we can read and reflect on ourselves and grow, even if we don’t leave our the comfort of our reading chair and our electric tea kettle.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nidhi Jakhar

    A true account of 'coming to terms' and 'making peace' with people that destroyed your childhood and made you feel homeless and abandoned in your own country. The book runs parallel with past and present contexts, former being the years 1992/93 when Balkan war raged in Europe and the Bosnian Muslim Trebincevic family struggled to stay alive and the latter being their successful lives in America, where they made home after escaping Bosnia. The protagonist Kenan finally returns home along with his A true account of 'coming to terms' and 'making peace' with people that destroyed your childhood and made you feel homeless and abandoned in your own country. The book runs parallel with past and present contexts, former being the years 1992/93 when Balkan war raged in Europe and the Bosnian Muslim Trebincevic family struggled to stay alive and the latter being their successful lives in America, where they made home after escaping Bosnia. The protagonist Kenan finally returns home along with his father and brother and finds himself visiting his former haunts, friends, traitors and among them, the Serbs who helped them survive. The book is a good lesson on the complicated Balkan history and strife and also how even during the most tragic harrowing times, there are flickers of goodness that we must not forget and keep as proof of the humanity that struggles to stay alive within us against the greatest odds. Totally loved the book and it makes me want to probe deeper into Balkan stories.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Caitlin

    One of the best things about having a book blog is the opportunities it creates for you to read things you might not have heard about or considered. The Bosnia List is one of those books I'm so glad I got an opportunity to read and review. Complex, nuanced, tragic, and joyful, it is a book that will make you ponder your own good fortune and think about the nature of diversity, horror, and compassion. Mr. Trebinčević tells the story of his family's life in Brčko before the war, during the war, aft One of the best things about having a book blog is the opportunities it creates for you to read things you might not have heard about or considered. The Bosnia List is one of those books I'm so glad I got an opportunity to read and review. Complex, nuanced, tragic, and joyful, it is a book that will make you ponder your own good fortune and think about the nature of diversity, horror, and compassion. Mr. Trebinčević tells the story of his family's life in Brčko before the war, during the war, after their escape, and upon their return. With an understandable mix of emotions, Mr. Trebinčević is wary about returning, but does so to honor his father's wish to see his home again before he dies. Armed with a list of wrongs, people and places he wants to confront, and a lot of well-deserved anger, the author works his way through his list and finds a situation more complex than he had imagined and comes away with feelings of reconciliation and compassion. I admire him a great deal for the latter. I can't imagine how one reconciles with neighbors who stole from you, threatened you, killed people who looked like you, but the author's example inspires me to continue talking to people and hearing their stories. It's when we lose sight of the grays in the world and huddle in the black and white that we begin to lose our humanity.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Missy J

    Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. I was reading The Bridge on the Drina and just couldn't continue after 25%. The "plot-less-ness" of the book drove me crazy, even though I really wanted to read it and learn more about Balkan history. So instead, I turned to this book and read about the recent history, in the hopes that it will give me the courage to return back to The Bridge on the Drina. Kenan Trebincevic's memoir isn't the first one I read about the Bosnian War, but it sure is the first one in Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. I was reading The Bridge on the Drina and just couldn't continue after 25%. The "plot-less-ness" of the book drove me crazy, even though I really wanted to read it and learn more about Balkan history. So instead, I turned to this book and read about the recent history, in the hopes that it will give me the courage to return back to The Bridge on the Drina. Kenan Trebincevic's memoir isn't the first one I read about the Bosnian War, but it sure is the first one in regards to returning back to Bosnia since the war. Kenan's father was a renowned local sports coach in his hometown Brcko and didn't believe that the war would get so bad that they would have to leave the country. But then his father and his older brother Eldin were taken to a concentration camp and Muslims around them were being killed simply for being Muslim. Kenan's Serbian teachers and neighbors turned their backs on his family, mocking them and openly looting their home and many other Muslim homes. Kenan and his family were one of the last Muslims to leave Brcko and they found their way to America, where they had to start from zero. I liked the alternating chapters between the war and the present day, in which Kenan, his father and brother return back to Bosnia. Kenan harbored a lot of trauma and inner rage against that time and this trip definitely helped him to let go of the past. The psychological aspect of his experience was amazing and I was rooting for him. However, I didn't like his constant description of the clothes they wore. Who cares? Besides that, it is understandable that Kenan harbors a lot of hatred against Serbs for mass murdering Muslim Bosniaks. Somebody told me that the war wasn't that black and white. Both sides committed crimes against each other. I might try The Bridge on the Drina again. Who knows?

  7. 4 out of 5

    J.A.

    It’s fitting that The Bosnia List begins at the bar with Kenan Trebinčević and his brother, Eldin. Reading this memoir feels like taking a seat next to them at the bar and listening to their story. It’s a riveting account of their escape from war-torn Bosnia, told in a conversational style by Kenan with journalist Susan Shapiro. So pull up a chair and keep the drinks flowing, because you won’t want to walk away until you hear how it ends. The escape from persecution is a necessary part, but it’s It’s fitting that The Bosnia List begins at the bar with Kenan Trebinčević and his brother, Eldin. Reading this memoir feels like taking a seat next to them at the bar and listening to their story. It’s a riveting account of their escape from war-torn Bosnia, told in a conversational style by Kenan with journalist Susan Shapiro. So pull up a chair and keep the drinks flowing, because you won’t want to walk away until you hear how it ends. The escape from persecution is a necessary part, but it’s not the whole story. Kenan’s friends, neighbors, favorite teacher, and idolized coach all turned against him and his family when the ethnic cleansing began. Their survival and escape from the deadly conflict is remarkable, but it is the decision to return two decades later that is staggering. Kenan and Eldin go along with their ailing father’s desire to visit their homeland, but Kenan goes with his own agenda. He makes a list of a dozen redresses that begins with “Confront Petra about stealing from my mother” and “Stand at Pero’s grave to make sure he’s really dead.” This is no social visit for Kenan, who has been having involuntary revenge fantasies. How he reconciles the items on his list provides the resolution to this tragic tale. I was in high school when Slobodan Milošević incited Yugoslavia to tear itself apart. I was studying Russian at the time, so I followed the developments in the news, but only through American channels. I didn’t have a sense of what it meant on an individual level until I read The Bosnia List. I am grateful that Lindsay Prevette at Penguin Books directed my attention to it, and that Penguin is allowing me to giveaway a copy!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

    A great read: not only do you get a very accessible history lesson on the Bosnian geopolitics that confused many of us during the 90s, but Kenan's story of family conflicts, rage, and forgiveness is something that anyone can relate to. Co-writer Sue Shapiro did a great job assisting this young man, who had never written before, to be able to share his moving story that takes him from the Eastern European town of Brcko to the borough of Queens in New York City. A great read: not only do you get a very accessible history lesson on the Bosnian geopolitics that confused many of us during the 90s, but Kenan's story of family conflicts, rage, and forgiveness is something that anyone can relate to. Co-writer Sue Shapiro did a great job assisting this young man, who had never written before, to be able to share his moving story that takes him from the Eastern European town of Brcko to the borough of Queens in New York City.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    This was a memoir. The author clearly let the audience into his head and experience events in the book as he did. The interesting, dual culture will apply to many who feel different cultures pulling them in different directions. The book was well written and kept me reading to the last page. I very much enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to anyone.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    A powerful memoir rich in detail. With the help of Susan Shapiro, Kenan Trebincevic tells his family story of loss, betrayal and of finally coming to terms with the Bosnian, Croatian and Serbian conflict when neighbor turned against neighbor. The story expertly interweaves the personal with the political. A beautiful book about war and survival and the endurance of family love.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kolumbina

    Fantastic. A really good book. Very well written book. I like 2 parallel stories, one now and the other one in 1992/1993. I was born in Slovenia and lived in Zagreb in Croatia for many years, including beginning of the war and still learned a lot of new things.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Sharon

    Absolutely heart breaking but totally compelling to read. Review to come.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    Let me start my review by saying that my fiance is a Serbian refugee from the Bosnian city of Zenica and his experience was very similar to Kenan, just on the opposite "side" of the conflict of being Orthodox Christian. The book was very well written and as a memoir I have no doubt that everything he details actually happened. The part where I had a problem, was the vast generalizations of the Serbian people and the devaluing of the horrors the Serbians experienced as well. There is no one victi Let me start my review by saying that my fiance is a Serbian refugee from the Bosnian city of Zenica and his experience was very similar to Kenan, just on the opposite "side" of the conflict of being Orthodox Christian. The book was very well written and as a memoir I have no doubt that everything he details actually happened. The part where I had a problem, was the vast generalizations of the Serbian people and the devaluing of the horrors the Serbians experienced as well. There is no one victim of this conflict. Just like Kenan, my fiance Sinisa's family was driven from their home by the Muslim take over of Zenica. Sinisa was only 6 so his memories are not strong enough to form a detailed experience such as Kenan. But, Sinisa's father was starved in a prisoner of war camp, was brutally attacked by Muslims and narrowly escaped with his life multiple times. Sinisa's home was burned down by Muslim's and they were given a pitiful compenasation for the property when the war was over and had to literally start from scratch in the United States such as Kenan's family. Sinisa spent months in refugee camps with no privacy, few showers and no way to know if his father was safe.Sinisa's father was a respected member of the community as a mailman and had Muslim friends turn on him overnight just as Keka. When they got to America they worked and still work as Guest Room Attendants on the Las Vegas strip since their language skills were so poor and manual labor was the best they could do for themselves just as Keka in the US while the next generation is able to better themselves. My fear is that readers who pick up this book to learn more of the Bosnian conflict which is still in recent history, could form opinions without hearing both sides of the story. I applaud him for reliving the nightmare and writing it down since I am sure that was difficult to do. I definitely do not condone anything his Serbian neighbors did to him and like I said before I have no doubt it actually happened. The thing to take away from this memoir is how scary it is that a community could turn on eachother so quickly and this turmoil is far from over. We all need to stop and appreciate the differences in eachother and it should never be "I hate all Bosniaks" or "I hate all Serbians." But, what can we do to make sure future generations are able to get past the territorial disputes and cultural differences so THIS NEVER HAPPENS AGAIN.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Excellent memoir of a very misunderstood area and historic period. During the Milosevic regime, the Serbian vision was to occupy and rule all of the former Yugoslavia and ridding the Balkans of Muslims, the detested relics of the Ottoman Empire. This memoir is from the point of view of a Bosniak, the term for a Muslim residing in Bosnia, who was a child of ten when the ethnic cleansing began in his town of Brcko, very close to the western border of Serbia. We learn of all of the atrocities commi Excellent memoir of a very misunderstood area and historic period. During the Milosevic regime, the Serbian vision was to occupy and rule all of the former Yugoslavia and ridding the Balkans of Muslims, the detested relics of the Ottoman Empire. This memoir is from the point of view of a Bosniak, the term for a Muslim residing in Bosnia, who was a child of ten when the ethnic cleansing began in his town of Brcko, very close to the western border of Serbia. We learn of all of the atrocities committed by the Serbs, how friends turned on friends. Most important, in my opinion, is the author's view that the Dayton Accords which ended the hostilities did a great disservice to the victims, the Muslims. The aggressors lost no land holdings and were treated with impunity. Also, Europe supported the accords because they could not condone an Islamist country in Europe. Secondly, in the author's experience, revenge and distrust are strong on both sides of the controversy. I am led to research the Dayton Accords to understand the conditions of the agreements to see if I can appreciate his viewpoint. I remember that as an uninformed US citizen at the time, I was happy that the hostilities were ending.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jean-Paul Adriaansen

    Of all the wars ever fought, the civil wars are the most cruel and horrific. Kenan Trebincevic was 12 years old when hell came down in his hometown in Bosnia. In his book he shares with us the sudden cruelty and inhumanity, the way he and his family were humiliated, robbed, and finally forced to leave their homeland. It is so well written that you will feel his consternation, his fears, his anger. How do you deal with those demons of the past? Can you ever find redemption? Will you ever be able Of all the wars ever fought, the civil wars are the most cruel and horrific. Kenan Trebincevic was 12 years old when hell came down in his hometown in Bosnia. In his book he shares with us the sudden cruelty and inhumanity, the way he and his family were humiliated, robbed, and finally forced to leave their homeland. It is so well written that you will feel his consternation, his fears, his anger. How do you deal with those demons of the past? Can you ever find redemption? Will you ever be able to forgive? Just read this astonishing book! A must read for all those who still believe in humanity.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alice Dinizo

    "The Bosnia List" is a highly readable and totally engrossing memoir. The author and his family, Bosnian Muslims, survived the horrors of the ethnic cleansing that swept former Yogoslavia in the 1990's and escaped to the United States. Now, two decades later the author and his older brother, Eldin, take their father back to their homeland for a visit. Kenan Trebincevic has a list of who and what he plans to confront while back in Bosnia but powerful events help him change his mind.Buy this book "The Bosnia List" is a highly readable and totally engrossing memoir. The author and his family, Bosnian Muslims, survived the horrors of the ethnic cleansing that swept former Yogoslavia in the 1990's and escaped to the United States. Now, two decades later the author and his older brother, Eldin, take their father back to their homeland for a visit. Kenan Trebincevic has a list of who and what he plans to confront while back in Bosnia but powerful events help him change his mind.Buy this book, borrow it,somehow readers everywhere should read "The Bosnia List"!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Susan

    This book was very difficult for me to read, because it was a true story of a brittle civil war. It was compelling and poignant and absolutely horrifying to think about what human beings can do to other human beings...just like reading about the Holocaust or war in Somalia...but it was so well-written and engrossing.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Atiqah Ghazali

    Yugoslav Wars were the first war I heard when I was only in primary school. Bosnia & Herzegovina is the 1st country that I remember asking my parents on how to spell it as I was still a small child when the news anchor kept mentioning the name in tv. I knew that my 4th Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamed has sent our armies to help Bosnians at their country. Hence, I picked up this book when I saw the title. I wanted to know more. It started quite slow for my liking. I took 20 days to finish off Yugoslav Wars were the first war I heard when I was only in primary school. Bosnia & Herzegovina is the 1st country that I remember asking my parents on how to spell it as I was still a small child when the news anchor kept mentioning the name in tv. I knew that my 4th Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamed has sent our armies to help Bosnians at their country. Hence, I picked up this book when I saw the title. I wanted to know more. It started quite slow for my liking. I took 20 days to finish off the first 1/3 of the book as I got easily put off by the different times lapse and the author seemed too angry to even write more melancholy words. And it was quite dry as the prose didn't evoke much emotion at all. Once the story hit me, it only took only 3 days to finish it off. I was very much in tuned and couldn't wait to know more. Although it is very predictable (blame it all on the many Auschwitz stories that I read), I still will never forget how this book made me feel. One of my favourite book on war experience this year, surely.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Scott

    The Bosnia List is a memoir of Kenan Trebincevic, who returned to a place that was torn by war. In one night his friends and neighbors turned on him and his world was changed. After his family fled his home of Brcko he lived in New York and his hate for those that betrayed him festered. When his father finds that his time is limited he convinces Kenan and his brother to take him back to Brcko before he dies. Trebincevic recorded his journey of return with interruptions that build the background The Bosnia List is a memoir of Kenan Trebincevic, who returned to a place that was torn by war. In one night his friends and neighbors turned on him and his world was changed. After his family fled his home of Brcko he lived in New York and his hate for those that betrayed him festered. When his father finds that his time is limited he convinces Kenan and his brother to take him back to Brcko before he dies. Trebincevic recorded his journey of return with interruptions that build the background of his life between the betrayals and the return. These stories are filled with loss that fed his hate, but includes the successes he had. Kenan makes a reverse Schindler's list of the people that betrayed him. Instead of giving others a chance, he plans to go up to these people or their graves and confront them. His plan is revenge. As he is visiting these people and places he remembers the stories of betrayal and the life that way he lived after his family fled, he finds himself living a better life than these people. Though he finds some satisfaction in this, his hate still remained until he heard the stories of the people on the list. Kenan finally frees himself from the hate when he forgives them. Kenan Trebincevic's memoir is a compelling story that shows the power of forgiveness and how it is never too late to give or accept it. I recommend this memoir for anyone who holds onto hate because forgiveness is not an easy task and Kenan's story can inspire them to let go like he did.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    This is book is an easy read that keeps you engaged the entire time. Even though I myself am not Bosnian, this story is very dear to my heart. I read this book 2 months after visiting Bosnia with my husband’s family for the first time. I saw and felt the pain that the families are experiencing still in 2018! If buildings still remain damaged over 25 years later can you imagine the agony that is felt in the hearts of the people?! Yet everyone was so loving and hospitable! Willing to give you ever This is book is an easy read that keeps you engaged the entire time. Even though I myself am not Bosnian, this story is very dear to my heart. I read this book 2 months after visiting Bosnia with my husband’s family for the first time. I saw and felt the pain that the families are experiencing still in 2018! If buildings still remain damaged over 25 years later can you imagine the agony that is felt in the hearts of the people?! Yet everyone was so loving and hospitable! Willing to give you everything even though the had so little. With that being said, my hope is that others will read this book and be grateful. Though life seems so certain, at any moment it can change. We should stand up and help not only Bosnia, but also all of those who are suffering because of a war that they never chose or wanted. We never know, one day we could be in a similar position...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nahed

    It is an amazing birthday book, It is the first time for me to know the details of Bosnia tragedy. He went through what happen very smoothly accompanied with the feelings of a 12 years young boy and how this tragedy affected him till the 30th of his age. And how his parents fights for he and his brother to safe their life’s and careers. It is almost the same hitler did in the holocaust but no one know about it in the history or even mention it in any event. The book I consider it as a documentar It is an amazing birthday book, It is the first time for me to know the details of Bosnia tragedy. He went through what happen very smoothly accompanied with the feelings of a 12 years young boy and how this tragedy affected him till the 30th of his age. And how his parents fights for he and his brother to safe their life’s and careers. It is almost the same hitler did in the holocaust but no one know about it in the history or even mention it in any event. The book I consider it as a documentary for this tragedy in a complete and simple way.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Sejla

    Very emotional read for me for obvious reasons. I could relate to so much he went through. It’s also a great book to read if you want to learn more about Bosnia and what happened in the 90’s during the war. A very sad and unfortunate part in history. Definitely would recommend this book to others!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Zak

    Interesting history, but too "in-your-face" whenever it came to the topic of revenge and forgiveness. This book led me to watch the entire BBC documentary "The Death of Yugoslavia" on YouTube. Interesting history, but too "in-your-face" whenever it came to the topic of revenge and forgiveness. This book led me to watch the entire BBC documentary "The Death of Yugoslavia" on YouTube.

  24. 5 out of 5

    K.L. Romo

    In this riveting and heartbreaking tale of war and recovery, Kenan Trebinčević returns to his war-ravaged homeland of Bosnia. His goal is to let his aging father return one last time, but what Kenan learns during the trip helps him heal the odd mix of bitterness and guilt that has filled him for more than twenty years. In December 2009, Kenan and his older brother, Eldin Trebinčević, sit in a Balkan-themed bar in Astoria, Queens, New York, drinking rakija, plum moonshine, and listening to a Bosni In this riveting and heartbreaking tale of war and recovery, Kenan Trebinčević returns to his war-ravaged homeland of Bosnia. His goal is to let his aging father return one last time, but what Kenan learns during the trip helps him heal the odd mix of bitterness and guilt that has filled him for more than twenty years. In December 2009, Kenan and his older brother, Eldin Trebinčević, sit in a Balkan-themed bar in Astoria, Queens, New York, drinking rakija, plum moonshine, and listening to a Bosnian ballad. The bar’s owner, a fellow Bosnian Muslim, hoped to unite the different groups from the former Yugoslavia, trying to mend the hatred that had gone on for almost twenty years, since the beginning of the Balkan War. Kenan initially loved the fellowship he felt there. “After two decades here, I’d become a proud citizen of the United States, and I’d chosen to live in New York’s most culturally diverse borough. I was a pacifist more interested in the Yankees and Seinfeld reruns than bloodthirsty revenge. Yet more and more I found myself returning to this busy avenue known as Yugo Row…as if it wasn’t too late to recover what was lost.” But Eldin wasn’t so sure the local melting pot of Croats, Bosniaks and Serbs was such a safe idea. And he was right. It only took a year for the different groups to separate into small islands of resentment and distrust. They were, after all, products of the war. Would healing never take place? Kenan’s secure life in Brčko, Bosnia had suddenly changed in July 1991, when his beloved Karate coach, Pero, became a different person almost overnight. The television news reported on the group to which Pero now belonged - the “weekend warriors,” Bosnian Serbs who would don a uniform and gun to kill people in Croatia during the weekend. The ethnic cleansing had begun. The war came to Brčko, and to the Trebinčević family, on May 1, 1992. Gunfire filled the city; Serbian tanks rolled through the streets. After seven days of remaining in their apartment without utilities, and blankets covering their windows, Kenan was finally sent out to find what food he could for the family. Surely no one would hurt a young boy. But Kenan learned a brutal lesson that day that changed his reality forever. A bullet almost hit Kenan as he was returning home, so he flagged down his favorite teacher from school, hoping to hide from the violence by standing behind him. But his beloved teacher stopped him in the street. “Balije [derogatory slang for Muslims] don’t need bread,” he shouted, and knocked the bread out of Kenan’s hand. The teacher then put his AK-47 against Kenan’s head and pulled the trigger, but Kenan’s life was miraculously spared when the gun jammed. His world had turned upside down, no longer a place where Kenan and his family were welcome. They were being hunted. The atrocities witnessed and experienced by the Trebinčević family would leave an indelible mark on them. Bosnians were massacred throughout the city, throughout the country. Rounded up and shot en masse, their bodies stacked onto trucks that took them away in plain view. It seemed they were living in 1942, not 1992. Wasn’t anything learned from what Hitler had done to the Jews? To pass the time in their darkened apartment, Kenan and Eldin made a game of guessing which weapons were being fired. They became experts in identifying AK-47’s, Howitzers, RPG’s, VBR launchers, and M48 machine guns. A macabre game that came to symbolize what their lives had become. Finally, after months of hiding and trying to stay alive, Kenan and his family, the last Muslim family that remained in Brčko, barely escaped Bosnia in early January, 1993. Most of their possessions not stolen by neighbors were left behind. After camping out with other families in Austria for nine months, they were finally accepted by the United States, and were sent to live in Connecticut. They knew no one there, and were at the mercy of the church members who helped them establish a new life. Kenan’s father, Senahid, took as many jobs as he could find; his mother, Adisa, babysat; and Eldin was a busboy at a Mexican restaurant. They worked as much as was physically possible to avoid welfare. During the next eighteen years, Kenan and Eldin completed their education and secured well-paying jobs. But their father had a stroke in 2001, and then their mother died from cancer in early 2007. By 2011, it was clear that their father wanted to go back to Bosnia, to their hometown of Brčko, one last time before he died. But Kenan had vowed never to return to Bosnia, every cell in his body resisting the dreaded trip. “It was a conspiracy. Despite my good arguments, the world was pushing me to face down our past.” After Senahid told his sons that he was afraid he would die before making peace with his former country, Kenan and Eldin finally gave reverence to their father’s wish. They would visit Bosnia. And Kenan decided that he would use the trip to settle unfinished business with the people who had hurt his family. He wrote a list of twelve things that he needed to accomplish while in Bosnia – a sort of bucket list for retribution and revenge against the Serbs from his past. Kenan addressed each item on The List, but what he experienced and discovered was not what he’d expected. Reading The Bosnia List gave me a historical lesson of the genocide that was happening on the other side of the world in the early 1990’s, while I was safe in my Texas home, working, and raising my kids. Driving them to soccer practice, doing homework with them. I hadn’t paid the attention the Balkan War so truly deserved. Three-hundred thousand people were slaughtered between 1991 and 1995. I was horrified to read the details. I felt fear as I read about a young boy who had an AK-47 pushed up against his head, who saw his father and brother rounded up and taken to the local gym where the self-proclaimed authorities shot boys and men lined up against a wall. The words made the Trebinčević’s fight for survival up-close and personal. This book scared me to death. Just imagining what it would be like to have my close friends and neighbors suddenly become mortal enemies, trying to kill my family because of our ethnicity, and our religion, made me feel a glimpse of the fear I’ve always been privileged not to experience. How would it feel if my country were suddenly eliminated from the map, the roots we’d planted totally destroyed? And yet, in the end, amid all of the atrocities, pain, bitterness, and retribution, Kenan Trebinčević was able to come to terms with the people who had hurt him, and better understand why his beloved Yugoslavia was destroyed, and the Bosnian people with it. Kenan’s perspective had changed: “For two decades I’d been clinging to my rage over what the Serbs did to us. The resentment might never totally disappear…Yet during my trip to Bosnia, giving up on getting real revenge, something internal was repaired: I came back more trusting and hopeful…It felt like an affirmation of my mother’s faith that even during the most tragic times, there were flickers of goodness that must be remembered.”

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nikole Hahn

    The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return by Kenan Trebincevic surprised me. When I read in another article how his Christian neighbors turned on him, I thought, “So this is going to be a Muslim rant against Christians?” Yet the war was much more complicated. I remember the Bosnia war news stories, but I have to admit to not paying attention. At the time, I was a teenager. So the war was somewhere ‘over there.’ Kenan’s story reminds me of the Holocaust. The story begins in New York. The The Bosnia List: A Memoir of War, Exile, and Return by Kenan Trebincevic surprised me. When I read in another article how his Christian neighbors turned on him, I thought, “So this is going to be a Muslim rant against Christians?” Yet the war was much more complicated. I remember the Bosnia war news stories, but I have to admit to not paying attention. At the time, I was a teenager. So the war was somewhere ‘over there.’ Kenan’s story reminds me of the Holocaust. The story begins in New York. The Bosnia List is an actual list Kenan wrote down on things he wanted to accomplish when he took his dad back to the old country. Kenan didn’t want to go, but pressure from his father, friends, and sibling changed his mind. Kenan returns to the old country years after the Bosnian war, and reflects on his trip with a much different spirit. I had just two problems with the book. First, I really didn’t care for the swearing in the dialogue. It peppered the manuscript. Second, the prologue begins with, “December, 2009,” written in italics, and on page 7 jumps to 2010 in a regular paragraph without any extra spaces. When you put a title in italics listing a chapter as 2009, usually you don’t suddenly switch to another year. On page 11, he brings us to 2011 in the same prologue. Otherwise, the reader follows Kenan’s growth and healing from present day New York to the past during the war, and back again. It’s a great story with lessons we could all learn from it, like putting our belief in God and His values first above our nationality. This is not all though. Kenan shows how some things he observed as a child were taken out of context, and he learns the truth during his visit to his home country as an adult. I really loved how he rounds out his whole experience from war to visiting home again post war. His last page made me nod and smile. What I thought would primarily be a rant against Christians stayed true to his story of how complicated the war became for him. I gave this book four stars. Book given by publisher to review.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Seth Fiegerman

    A couple months ago, I saw the author this book and how it came together more or less thanks to chance exchanges with two of his physical therapy patients in New York. Listening to Kenan speak about his experience as a child in the Bosnian war, and then reading about it in this book, I couldn't help but compare it to the stories my grandfather told about being a child in the Holocaust. Unlike my grandfather, Kenan was never put in the concentration camp (though his father and brother were briefl A couple months ago, I saw the author this book and how it came together more or less thanks to chance exchanges with two of his physical therapy patients in New York. Listening to Kenan speak about his experience as a child in the Bosnian war, and then reading about it in this book, I couldn't help but compare it to the stories my grandfather told about being a child in the Holocaust. Unlike my grandfather, Kenan was never put in the concentration camp (though his father and brother were briefly). Instead, much of his experience is about the fear of being captured or killed, and watching helplessly as his town transforms into a place full of hate and betrayal. It's really the little atrocities that resonate here: the neighbor who shamelessly takes one prized possession after another from his mother, the school kids who ostracize him and calmly gloat about soldiers killing Bosnians. Years later, a kind of peace has been forced on the region, but the underlying tension is still there. The war, as Kenan sees it, ended just as the Bosnian side was on the verge of finally winning. He can't shake the bitterness over what happened to his family and the way the war ended. When he finally goes back to his hometown as an adult, he initially fiends for some kind of emotional of physical retribution, but comes to find some compassion for those who he thought did wrong by him. I questioned some of those he chose to forgive, particularly the neighbor, but the overall sentiment rings true. It took my grandfather many years to return home to Vienna after the war. When he did, he found a country that deliberately or not had tried to put the Holocaust behind it by acting as though it had not happened. He did get angry at God and politicians for the suffering he and his family went through, but to my knowledge, he never thirsted for revenge or retribution. Survival was its own revenge.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gigi Blanchard

    I couldn't put this down once I started. This memoir puts readers on the forefront of the Bosnian genocide. The author was a young kid when the war began and this is his account from a child's perspective. He takes readers along with his family while they struggle to escape safely and build another life as refugees. It is heartbreaking that his father went from being akin to the mayor in Bosnia to bagging groceries in the states. Kenan reluctantly returns to Bosnia with a list that he hopes woul I couldn't put this down once I started. This memoir puts readers on the forefront of the Bosnian genocide. The author was a young kid when the war began and this is his account from a child's perspective. He takes readers along with his family while they struggle to escape safely and build another life as refugees. It is heartbreaking that his father went from being akin to the mayor in Bosnia to bagging groceries in the states. Kenan reluctantly returns to Bosnia with a list that he hopes would help him understand the crimes his neighbors committed and the reader can't help but cheer him on as he seeks closure and tries to heal the wounds. This memoir offers serious depth into what it was like to be a refugee and questions whether the benefits of his fate were worth the cost of losing "what could have been' if the war never happened. More than just a memoir, this is a look at the nature of how people process trauma, racism, displacement and healing. Brilliantly written and award worthy!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ginny Goettler

    What an eye-opener. My son was assigned Serbia in his middle school's UN program and needless to say, we had a difficult time finding something appropriate. Everything out there seemed to be dryly academic or watered down enough to be palatable for young children and consequently lacking in substance. Ultimately, we were both grateful for the assignment, primarily because of this book, which was so shocking, moving, and heartwrenching. I had no clue the Bosnian War was so horrific. I have read m What an eye-opener. My son was assigned Serbia in his middle school's UN program and needless to say, we had a difficult time finding something appropriate. Everything out there seemed to be dryly academic or watered down enough to be palatable for young children and consequently lacking in substance. Ultimately, we were both grateful for the assignment, primarily because of this book, which was so shocking, moving, and heartwrenching. I had no clue the Bosnian War was so horrific. I have read many books on the WW2 holocaust, yet never have I read of so many "regular" people committing such atrocities against people who were once their friends and neighbors. It has deepened my compassion for refugees and forever changed a piece of my soul. And despite the book's disturbing content, I was happy that my son, who was deeply affected by it as well, read it. I wouldn't want him on an exclusive diet of this type of book, but I think it's important for teens to be aware of what kids elsewhere have endured and continue to endure so perhaps they'll some day be part of the change.

  29. 4 out of 5

    knuckle knicole

    As an enthusiast of learning about situations wherein average people turn downright nasty, violent, or even murderous, this book fascinated and moved me deeply. The narration alternates between two times: the first is a "modern day" perspective from an early 30s man living in America, planning a trip to return to his homeland Bosnia, with his brother and father. The second timeframe is the authors memories from his youth in Bosnia, particularly his experiences during the conflict. Having your wo As an enthusiast of learning about situations wherein average people turn downright nasty, violent, or even murderous, this book fascinated and moved me deeply. The narration alternates between two times: the first is a "modern day" perspective from an early 30s man living in America, planning a trip to return to his homeland Bosnia, with his brother and father. The second timeframe is the authors memories from his youth in Bosnia, particularly his experiences during the conflict. Having your world so absolutely and terribly flipped as the author's family and so many other Bosniacs did during that era of political turmoil and hatred is something near impossible to even imagine. Through this memoir Kenan shows us how truly nasty humans can behave under pressure. He also shows us, through his own actions as an adult and through his depiction of his father's lifetime, that thoughtfulness and human kindness can triumph over animosity and hatred.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sara Goff

    The retelling of Kenan Trebincevic's experiences surviving ethnic cleansing at the age of eleven comes from a heartfelt place, which is felt behind every vivid scene. We see the violence through a child's eyes, through his fear, his curiosity, his embarrassment, and eventually through his anger and his dreams of revenge. The fighting continues inside him long after the war ends; it puts him in chains, but The Bosnia List in beautiful detail shows how time, understanding, bravery, and forgiveness The retelling of Kenan Trebincevic's experiences surviving ethnic cleansing at the age of eleven comes from a heartfelt place, which is felt behind every vivid scene. We see the violence through a child's eyes, through his fear, his curiosity, his embarrassment, and eventually through his anger and his dreams of revenge. The fighting continues inside him long after the war ends; it puts him in chains, but The Bosnia List in beautiful detail shows how time, understanding, bravery, and forgiveness can undue the chains of war, one link at a time. I can recommend The Bosnia List with five stars for three specific reasons: I've never read a memoir that brought me this near to the action; I immediately identified with the author as his younger self; and the close look at humanity on all sides gives this war story a tenderness that doesn't lessen the brutality, but certainly provides answers.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.