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To be Born in a village on the remote western edge of Bosnia, Princip had undergone a process of radicalization at the schools he attended across the region, a journey that culminated in the assassination in Sarajevo Eventually the author Tim Butcher gets around to telling us the story of Gavril Princip and the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie on June 28th in Sarajevo. To be clear there was no manhunt for Gavril Princip. A crowd of people saw the nineteen year old, while standing on the sidewalk, walk up and shoot the royal couple at close range while they sat exposed in their open air touring car.
It only took two bullets and they each died within a few minutes of one another. Ferdinand was struck in an artery in the neck and Sophie was struck in the stomach where an artery was severed. The grenade missed its target and instead damaged the car behind. Seconds after the assassination, Princip was tackled and savagely beaten by the crowd.
He was thrown into prison and in short order the other six conspirators were also rounded up. Princip was too young to be legally executed so he was convicted and languished in prison for four years.
He died of tuberculosis just months before the end of the war. Sarajevo was part of the Austro Hungarian empire but neighboring Serbia was independent. Princip acquired weapons and training in Belgrade Serbia. Yes the writing in this book is good, although it is of a journalistic style that does not always lend itself to recording the historical events of a hundred years earlier.
Mark Mazower reviews ‘The Trigger’ by Tim Butcher · LRB 23 October
The story was also informative and generally entertaining. This is what he means by hunting down the killer, that is to do so in a historical and travelogue sense. I think if the author had put less of his own experiences into the book and separated his own story into italics it would have prevented the constant dovetailing of the two stories. Four stars.
I am glad I read it. It was at times a frustrating read for the reason mentioned above and the title is a bit misleading. Tim Butcher brings alive the story of Gavrilo Princip by physically following the young Bosnian Serb's journey from his remote village to the streets of Sarajevo. The author paints a fascinating story as he visits the remote hamlet where Princip grew up to discover still living descendants, takes on epic treks through the now land mine infested mountains that Princip knew, as well as discovering new insights into this infamous young man.
The author was a journalist present in the region during those wars and some of his personal experiences make uncomfortable reading but necessary reading. View 1 comment. Mar 17, Mikey B.
The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War by Tim Butcher
Really not for me. I felt deceived by the title which suggests an examination of the life of Gavrilo Princip who assassinated Arch-duke Ferdinand leading to the outbreak of the First World War. I also expected some discussion of Serbian nationalism. There is some of that in this book - but in the main it is a travelogue of the author in the former Yugoslavia which I was not that interested in. Much of this was focused on personal experiences of the author. I have read Hearts Grown Brutal: Sagas of Sarajevo which is superior journalism to what is in this book.
Aug 14, Zuberino rated it it was amazing Shelves: 20th-century , ottomans , non-fiction , civil-war , yugoslavia , austria-hungary , politics , s , history , bosnia. Scintillating biography of the man who changed the world. By firing that bullet into the jugular of the Habsburg heir on that sunny morning in Sarajevo in June , Gavrilo Princip not only killed off the old world, he also unwittingly helped to usher in the modern age - the toxic 20th century with its legacy of revolution, fascism, genocide and totalitarian terror. Tim Butcher is the perfect medium for the telling of this extraordinary tale.
Having spent years in the bloody cauldron of the Bos Scintillating biography of the man who changed the world. Having spent years in the bloody cauldron of the Bosnian war, he was first drawn into the story by witnessing a scene in war-torn Sarajevo. Ordinary people walking into a cemetery chapel to take a shit. Turns out it was Princip's grave. From there, Butcher launches into a beautiful, expansive meditation on the meaning of the First World War, which in turn serves as the launchpad for a real-life journey he undertakes in the summer of retracing Princip's steps - from the village of Obljaj, the assassin's birthplace in the wild mountains of Herzegovina, all the way to that fateful street corner along the Miljacka river in the centre of modern Sarajevo.
Throughout, he interweaves Princip's personal history with the wider history of the Balkans, with his own memories of the Bosnian war, and with the account of his pilgrimage across the region nearly 20 years later. Bosnia today is a country still wracked by the after-spasms of genocide and civil war, just as the world that Princip threw out of kilter never really recovered its equilibrium either. The most powerful passage of all is Butcher's account of the fall of Srebrenica and the infamous massacre of Bosnian Muslims, all under the noses of hapless UN peacekeepers.
He joins thousands of Bosnians on the annual Peace March that commemorates and reenacts in reverse the death march of Srebrenicans who made a desperate dash for safety in July but all too often ended up signing their own death warrants. This chapter "A Mystical Journey" is doubtless the book's emotional high point, but so clean and powerful and polished is Butcher's prose that the entire book reads like a dream.
For anyone even remotely interested in the history of the modern world, this book is essential reading.
It is amazing to think that so neglected, so distorted is the true story of Gavrilo Princip - his name as much a cipher as that of his victim the Archduke Franz Ferdinand - that even after a hundred years, Butcher is able to unearth original material on him from archives long forgotten, unknown to all previous chroniclers. For me, personally, WW1 has long held a magnetic fascination, and Sarajevo is one of those mythical cities - like Atlantis and Timbuktu - whose very name is a spell, an invocation, more vivid in the imagination than it is perhaps in reality.
On the eve of my first visit to the Balkans - inspired by people as varied as Princip and the Archduke, Christiane Amanpour and Rebecca West and even the ski pair of Torvill and Dean! View all 5 comments. Dec 27, Erin rated it really liked it Shelves: biography. My addiction to the final chapters of Hapsburg rule in Austria is well-known and thoroughly documented so it should come as no surprise that I jumped when my father gifted me a copy of The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War by Tim Butcher.
The assassination of Franz Ferdinand is easily the most recognizable moment of the era I study, but until now my understanding of that story has been entirely one-sided and I relished the opportunity to look at the events of June 28, , from a new and largely enigmatic angle. Butcher's work shatters stereotypes about the early twentieth century, but it also illustrates how a single event can ripple across decades and resonate on various levels according to time, place, and perception.
To make a long story short, I greatly enjoyed the time I spent reading The Trigger. It's an illuminating volume in and of itself, but I want to note that it also makes a fascinating companion to The Assassination of the Archduke: Sarajevo and the Romance that Changed the World by Greg King and Sue Woolmans. The books are not affiliated in any way, but when paired the two titles humanize both sides of a key moment in twentieth-century history and in many ways redefine the spark that lit the Powderkeg of Europe.
That much I and most of the rest of us know. What drove Princip to pull the trigger; there I'm a little hazier, what happened to him next and did he achieve his ultimate goal; there I knew nothing. Tim Butcher draws on his experience as a journalist covering the Yugoslavian wars of the 's to join the dots between the motivations of Princip at the start of the 20th century and those o Gavrillo Princip shot Archduke Franz Ferdinand on 28 June and in doing so triggered the First World War.
Tim Butcher draws on his experience as a journalist covering the Yugoslavian wars of the 's to join the dots between the motivations of Princip at the start of the 20th century and those of is compatriots at end of it. Butcher sets of to follow the route that Princip took from leaving his remote mountain home to the streets of Sarajevo and the assassination.
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Bizarrely and a little conveniently he runs into the remains of the Princip family right at the start of his quest. Much of the narrative is taken up with his reminisces of the wars of the 's and the horrific acts of barbarism that took place then. Before reading The Trigger I knew enough about the origins of the First World War and about the Yugoslav wars to bluff my way through but now I feel that my understanding of both conflicts is deeper and that I could hold my own with confidence.
Mar 22, Louise rated it really liked it Shelves: ww1 , assassinations-and-attempts , expeditions-treks , eastern-europe-hist. The author draws on his experience in covering the Bosnian war in the 's to add perspective to the story of Gavrilo Princip, the assassin who tripped the switch that started World War I. The journey begins in Obljaj, which is a Bosnian settlement hardly a town where the Princip clan lives today as it did when its wayward teenager changed the course of history. The author, Tim Butcher, is welcomed by this very poor rural family who share their handed down reminiscences.
Then, Butcher follows The author draws on his experience in covering the Bosnian war in the 's to add perspective to the story of Gavrilo Princip, the assassin who tripped the switch that started World War I. Then, Butcher follows Princip's footsteps literally , walking and training to Sarajevo as Princip did with his father in to attend school.
There is a lot on the people, the landscape, land mines, road conditions and more. The author visits archives, digests school records, court proceedings, and psychiatrist reports. There is much here about the Bosnian War and the ambiance of places in and around the city. From Sarajevo, Princip went to Belgrade, so Butcher does too. Again he is on foot.
He participates in and describes the Mars Mira an annual Peace March commemorating the Srebrenica atrocities. Butcher gives the best explanation that I have read on how this city became a safe zone and then a massacre site.
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