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Bosnian Americans of Chicagoland by Samira Puskar

May 20, 2008

I have been meaning to post this for quite some time and keep forgetting .. and this is really a bad thing since I was soooooo looking forward to this book.  Samira is a cousin of mine  (she is the cousin that met me at the AMAL event at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple) .. she’s awesome!  I also got to contribute some pics to the book and watched the book go from her computer monitor to bookstores – very cool! (and yes, it’s cool to have baby pics of me in an actual book)

One of my favorite photos in the book is the charter of the Muslim Benevolent Society, Dzemejitul Hajrije .. am I a dork or what?  .. anyway, this is an explanation of the society from the encyclopedia of Chicago:

Bosnian Muslims were early leaders in the establishment of Chicago’s Muslim community. In 1906, they established Dzemijetul Hajrije (The Benevolent Society) of Illinois to preserve the community’s religious and national traditions as well as to provide mutual assistance for funerals and illness. The organization established chapters in Gary, Indiana, in 1913 and Butte, Montana, in 1916 and is the oldest existing Muslim organization in the United States.

This is a bit more about the book and about Samira from amazon:

The first Bosnians settled in Chicagoland in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, joining other immigrants seeking better opportunities and better lives. As the former Yugoslavia continued to find its identity as a nation over the last century, the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina sought stability and new beginnings in the city of Chicago—many intending to return to their homeland. Today as many as 70,000 Bosnians and their descendants live in the Chicago area, representing different faiths, backgrounds, and motivations for making America their new home. Bosnian Americans of Chicagoland examines the journey of this group, its legacy, and its traditions and customs that have lasted since the first immigrants arrived a century ago.

About the Author:
Samira Puskar grew up in Chicagoland, where her family first emigrated from northwest Bosnia-Herzegovina in the 1960s. As a journalist, she has reported from Chicago, The Hague, Sarajevo, and Washington, D.C. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from Northwestern University and currently resides in Rogers Park.

Anyway – Samira’s book is awesome – so go out and buy it.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. May 20, 2008 12:05 pm

    Sounds great! I’ll be sure to pick it up over the summer.

  2. May 28, 2008 12:40 pm

    Since you’re a native speaker, I’m not sure if you will know this, but:

    Do you know of a good Bosnian language textbook (with a CD perhaps), and Bosnian-English/English-Bosnian dictionary? I’m learning online right now, but I’d also like something in book form.


  3. May 29, 2008 12:28 pm

    Kad bi jos rekla kako da mi iz Bosne dodjemo do ove knjige bilo bi jos vise awsome 😉
    Blog je za desetku masAllah.Nadam se da ces nastaviti pisati jos
    Esselamu alejkum

  4. May 30, 2008 3:39 am

    musicalchef – 😦 No. I thought Rosseta Stone, which I hear great things about, had something but I don’t see anything listed under Bosnian, Croatian, Serbian, Serbo-Croatian or Croat-Serbian (they are all the same language except that you may not find some of the Bosnian traditional words which often stem from Turkish words and there are different dialects but you will be able to be understood if you learn from any of those named languages).

    As for the dictionary – I looked it up on amazon and didn’t see any great reviews. I’ll look into this a little more when I am with family.

    Sakeena – Knjiga, koliko se sjecam, se ne prodaje u Bosnu ali mislim da je mozes naruciti preko (link je crveno i pise Amazon gore u post.

    Fala za komplimenta – Inshallah, nastavicu pisati!

  5. June 1, 2008 12:04 pm

    Thanks! I found some textbooks online that have excellent reviews, but are really expensive. When I’m back in the States this summer I’ll check them out at Barnes and Noble and see if I want them badly enough. Frankly, there are some very good guides online, including some huge pdf’s. I’m thinking of just having those printed out and bound up nicely by the bookstore down the street (Jordanians are experts at “recycling” books). Yes, the dictionary on Amazon had some bad reviews. I’m thinking of getting it anyways, since it’s not too expensive and probably better than no dictionary at all.

    Really, though, it’s amazing how much you can learn online! I found a good discussion forum for languages and can ask a bunch of questions there.

  6. Nedzad Kujundzic permalink
    December 24, 2008 5:28 am

    Wow, svaka cast na ovaku ljepu historijsku dokumentaciju. Hvala , i sve najbolje za buduce projekte.

  7. balkanqueenII permalink
    November 3, 2009 5:33 am

    To clear up any misconceptions about my post, I was not attacking “people who are dear to you” Samaha. I was simply pointing out the obvious: this book is a literary disaster. I am actually not a “Serbian extremist” but a Bosnian Muslim and I take offense to your attack and name calling. I also am shocked and disgusted by the fact that you “research” your bloggers. What the purpose of your research is, I do not know. But this is what I gather by your response: one, you do not understand the concept of “freedom of speech.” Welcome to America. We can actually share our opinions, good or bad, in this country. Two, you did not even read this book. You are actually the one who has the biased opinion about it because the author is “near and dear” to you. You have no idea what it says, and you are probably in half of the pictures and saw it for what it was: a nice family memoir. Three, if you want to post a blog about a book on your web site, expect positive and negative feedback. That’s what a blog is for: to share opinions. Just because you disagree with my opinion does not mean you can simply delete it and tell people the contrary is true. It is an opinion. I am sure other people enjoyed the book, I simply did not.

  8. November 3, 2009 1:07 pm

    Balkan Queen

    1. I did not call you a Serb extremist – I already had/have a suspicion as to who you are and I most definately think you are a Bosnian Muslim. Please reread the post that made you think that I called you a Serb extremist. Sorry, but everything does not revolve around you.

    2. I have read the book – which contains minimal text because it is supposed to be a pictorial documentation – duh! I’m sure with having minimal text that it might not be as detailed as you would like, or perhaps you weren’t mentioned, but considering that I’ve actually lived over 1/3 of that history – I find it accurate. The author being near and dear to me – I admit, it might be reason for bias – but we are Bosnians – when have we ever let our relations keep us from criticising each other?

    3. As for America – dear maybe I should be welcoming you – I was born here. Freedom of speech – you’re free to speak you own mind in a public sphere, in your own home, and on your own blog. However, let me introduce you to a less than socialist concept – this is my blog, consider it private property – I have the right to do with comments as I like. So, yes, I can delete them for any reason I chose. I don’t appreciate your grudge pushing comments and therefore – poooof – they’re gone.


  1. Global Voices Online » Bosnia & Herzegovina: Book on Bosnian Americans
  2. Comments Are Closed Until Further Notice « Samaha

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