Christopher S. Stewart

Hunting the Tiger

“Starting with his own heart-pounding train trip through Serbia in the late 1990s, Christopher S. Stewart launches the reader into the dark, bloody world of Serb paramilitaries. Hunting the Tiger is a fast, terrifying read that manages to penetrate one of the most violent and secretive organizations in the world. I don’t know how he did it…I’m just glad it wasn’t me.”
– Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm

Synopsis

A gripping investigation into the extraordinary career of Serbia’s legendary warlord.

Zeljko “Arkan” Raznatovic began his life as a petty criminal, a juvenile delinquent adrift in the floundering state of Yugoslavia. He would eventually become famous throughout Western Europe: as the “smiling bank robber”; as a Houdini-like fugitive from multiple prisons; and even as a state-sponsored assassin. Stories of motorboat robberies and daylight bank heists would follow him from country to country. Yet however impressive his criminal reputation seemed at first, it was only the beginning of his path to infamy.

Following Yugoslavia’s chaotic descent into madness in the 1990s, Arkan would become not only a gangster but one of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic’s most valued henchmen in the country’s civil war. He rallied Belgrade’s notoriously violent soccer hooligans, paired them with inmates from Serbia’s prisons, among other brutal street thugs, and trained them to become his ruthless foot soldiers, known as the “Tigers.” During the war, the men rampaged through Croatia and Bosnia---killing, raping, burning, and looting. As they earned a reputation as Serbia’s most feared death squad, Arkan became one of the region»s wealthiest men. A national hero, he married the country’s greatest pop star---the so-called “Madonna of the Balkans”---in a ceremony that was compared to that of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.

His fame and good fortune, however, could not last. In 1999, as NATO bombs fell on Belgrade, The Hague’s International War Crimes Tribunal indicted Arkan for crimes against humanity, the United States called for his arrest, the world media chased him, and mobster rivals wanted him dead. His days were numbered, and just after the Serbian New Year, he was shockingly assassinated in the crowded lobby of a high-profile Belgrade hotel.

In Hunting the Tiger, journalist Christopher S. Stewart tells the spectacular, bloody, and often nebulous story of a man who was equal parts James Bond, James Dean, Billy the Kid, and Al Capone. In a region still in the throes of sectarian conflict and wracked by the aftermath of decades of violence, Stewart gives us an engaging first-person look at one man who became a symbol of an intensely combustible and illicit age, and who played both villain and hero at a profound historical moment.

Praise for Hunting the Tiger

“A chilling, eye-opening account of a madman who deserves a choice seat in the pantheon of the 20th-century's most evil criminals.”
– Kirkus Reviews
“An irresistible story about a totally repellent man. Christopher S. Stewart's great achievement is to help us understand how a man so ruthless, savage, and worthless as Arkan could dazzle and excite so many people in his wounded, twisted nation. You keep turning the pages through amazing stories about mad heists, lust, greed, and massacres, shaking your head and wondering how this could have gone on, not so long ago or far away.”
– Scott Simon, NPR, author of Pretty Birds
“In a book that combines meticulous investigative journalism with the tone of a well-written thriller, Christopher S. Stewart charts the astonishing rise and fall of 'Arkan the Tiger,' one of the most infamous of modern war criminals. In the process, he has cast a brilliant light onto an ominous phenomenon that is occurring in many of today's war zones: the blurring of the line between 'patriot and gangster, soldier and psychopath. His book should be essential reading not only for those who wish to understand what happened in the Balkans in the 1990s, but for anyone seeking to grasp why the 'modernbattlefield has become so savage.”
– Scott Anderson, journalist, author of Moonlight Hotel
“In the groundbreaking Hunting the Tiger, author Christopher S. Stewart has done the impossible in uncovering the secret truth that lies behind the hall-of-mirrors life of gangster, folk hero, assassin, and international war criminal Zeljko 'Arkan' Raznatovic. Part gripping biography, part white-knuckle investigation, it reads as a pure thrill ride as the reader follows Stewart as he tracks down and finally reveals the true face of one of history's most awesomely terrifying villains.”
– John Falk, author of Hello To All That
“Through dogged reporting across former Yugoslavia, Christopher S. Stewart gives us a riveting story of one Europe's most notorious gangsters – Arkan, a real-life villain with a baby-face who moved seamlessly from pulling off bank heists to orchestrating war crimes -- that reads more like an Ian Fleming novel than a work of contemporary non-fiction. In so doing, Stewart provides unprecedented insight into the insane life of a state-sponsored criminal who was behind some of the worst atrocities Europe has witnessed since the Second World War.”
– Stacy Sullivan, author of Be Not Afraid, For You Have Sons In America

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