The book opens and closes with the wars in former Yugoslavia, giving a different slant to the crisis in its study of novels and cinema from the region. The West has constructed the Balkans as a primitive space and has simplified its historical and geographical complexities into the narrow horizons of myth. This process of cultural colonialism, begun over 150 years ago, can be traced right up to recent mass media reports about recent conflicts in former Yugoslavia. Such negative views have produced anxieties about issues of identity in the region, and many writers describe the collision of cultures as foreigners arrive from an outside world which is self-consciously superior and blind to local realities. Their fears lead to more dramatic stories of the total destruction of civilization and a return to an atavistic, pre-modern state which is the epitome of the Balkan myth itself. Nowhere is this apocalyptic vision more prevalent than in new writing and film about the wars of the 1990s.