This is an outstanding book. It is a comprehensive overview of Serbian history, without resorting to listing endless series of years and events. The author was the most highly esteemed Serbian medievalist, but also a supremely "reader-friendly" writer; both strengths are on display in "The Serbs".
Circkovic is sensitive to the widespread misuse of history not only in Serbia but amongst related Balkan peoples as well; dominant narratives are often grounded in 19th century romantic nationalism (to which they take an uncritical approach), with its notions of ethnic groups as "eternal", "primordial" communities, unchanging through the centuries.
In clear response to this, Cirkovic's introduction sets out his understanding of the changing and evolving natures of social groups, including ethnic ones. This sets the scene for a discussion of the Serbs that focuses on the changing circumstances they experienced over the course of a millennium in the Balkans, and which fundamentally shaped and reshaped them. This decidedly "anti-romantic" approach alone is enough to put the book head and shoulders above most historical studies about Balkan peoples (particularly those by local authors). The centrepiece, though, remains Cirkovic's encyclopaedic knowledge of Serbian history. Combined with his theoretical understandings, it makes for a powerful read.
In short, in content and style, this books is difficult to fault, and should be impossible to avoid in any serious discussion on Serbian history. Its authority should serve as a counterweight to the volumes of para-history that have been published on this topic.