Hrvoje Volner, Modernisation of the Central European Periphery. S. H. Gutmann Ltd. and Našička Ltd. in the industrialisation of Slavonia
Focusing on the three generations of a single family, the present book tells a nuanced story about the industrialisation of the Croatian province of Slavonia in the critical period of transition from the feudal into capitalist economy. As large estate owners, forestry experts and entrepreneurs, the members of the Gutmann family were at the forefront of this process – a process that transformed a remote part of the Central European periphery whose economic survival was dependent solely on agriculture and primitive exploitation of forests. Drawing on various archival sources, mostly from the period of the first (interwar) Yugoslav state, the author reveals not only the economic but also the political and social circumstances in which two companies – the Gutmann and the Našička – achieved unprecedented growth contributing to the development of the entire region. Of these circumstances, a special attention is given to the economic crisis and its unavoidable by-products – corruption and business-averse sentiments.