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Ultimate Travel Library—Eastern Europe

* Indicates a book that appears in our feature "Around the World in 80+ Books" published in the April 2002 issue of National Geographic Traveler.

*Balkan Ghosts: A Journey through History, by Robert D. Kaplan (1993). To appreciate the complexity of contemporary Europe, one must understand the Balkans. Completed in 1990, before the first shot was fired in the war in Yugoslavia, Kaplan's riveting account of his travels weaves in history and politics.

*Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey, by Isabel Fonseca (1995). Fonseca spent four nomadic years living with the Roma (as the Gypsies call themselves), moving from Albania to Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Bulgaria to document their traditions.

Café Europa: Life After Communism, by Slavenka Drakulic (1996). Using everyday language, Drakulic puts the commonplace sights of Eastern Europe under a microscope, finding sociological importance in the toilets of Romania and the deeper meaning behind the ubiquitous "Café Europas" that pepper the region. Drakulic discovers through her travels that these pale imitations of Western-style cafés are symbolic of a region still seeking acceptance into the world community.

Murder on the Orient Express, by Agatha Christie (1934). Christie guides readers through a mystery plot and across the European continent as a crime unfolds on the Orient Express train. Experience the blizzard in Yugoslavia that brings together 13 travelers from various countries to solve the murder.

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