The Trigger: Hunting the Assassin Who Brought the World to War
On a summer morning in Sarajevo a hundred years ago, a teenage assassin fired not just the opening shots of the First World War but the starting gun for modern history. By killing Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Gavrilo Princip triggered conflict that would claim millions of lives in battle, and turmoil that would change our world. So monumental were the events brought about by Princip that his own story has been largely overlooked, his role garbled and motivations misrepresented. The Trigger puts this right, filling out as never before a figure whose legacy still impacts all of us. Born a penniless backwoodsman, Princip embarked on a life-changing journey when he trekked across Bosnia and Serbia to attend school. As he ventured across fault lines of faith, nationalism and empire, so tightly clustered in the Balkans, he underwent a radicalisation that transformed him from a frail farm boy into history's most influential assassin. By retracing Princip's journey from his home village, through the mythical valleys of Bosnia to the fortress city of Belgrade and ultimately Sarajevo, Tim Butcher illuminates our understanding both of Princip and the places that shaped him. Tim uncovers details about Princip that have eluded historians for a century and draws on his own experience, as a war reporter in the Balkans in the 1990s, to face down ghosts of conflicts past and present. The Trigger is a rich and timely work that brings to life both the moment the world first went to war and an extraordinary region with a potent hold over history.
A trek through the Balkans, an exploration of the life of an assassin (the teenager who killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand and so triggered the First World War), and a journey into the history of this complex and fascinating part of the world...
Born in 1967, Tim Butcher was on the staff of the Daily Telegraph from 1990 to 2009 serving as chief war correspondent, Africa bureau chief and Middle East correspondent. His first book, Blood River, was a number one bestseller, a Richard & Judy Book Club selection and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. He is currently based in Cape Town with his family.