Treading Water at the Shark Café: A Memoir of the Yugoslav Wars

Lyndon Back

Heartbreak and hope, a Quaker mom's mission of peace in war-torn Yugoslavia.

Treading Water at the Shark Café is an American Quaker woman’s extraordinary journey of witness and discovery from her suburban Philadelphia home to the war zones of the former Yugoslavia. Set against a background of violence, her story focuses on young people—often forgotten in times of war—who lived outside the spotlight.

Like the Freedom Riders and the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee in the United States, the student activists in the former Yugoslavia envisioned a better world, taking incredible risks to make their dreams come true. Optimism, energy, and imagination conjure new possibilities, even in the midst of chaos. Told with honesty and deep conviction, this memoir will resonate with a growing audience of readers who are tired of political warmongering and share a longing for effective nonviolent alternatives.

  • Our Price: $17.95 + $3 S&H within continental US
  • ISBN: 978-1-941799-57-4
  • e-book ISBN: 978-1-941799-58-1
  • Publication Date: July 3, 2018
  • 248 pages – 5.5 in. x 8.5 in. matte paperback
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“Lyn Back’s book, Treading Water at the Shark Café, is a very personal journey of conviction to the cause of peace. As I read Back’s account of her volunteer work in Yugoslavia, I kept reflecting on the life of Viola Liuzzo, a Detroit homemaker who was drawn by her deep convictions to go to Alabama during the Civil Rights Movement. Back speaks very honestly and humbly about the driving forces that propel a middle-aged mother to leave her home and job in order to do something for the greater good. During her time in Yugoslavia, Back finds inspiration from those people caught in the midst of conflict, especially the young people with whom she collaborates. This book would be a resource to faculty and students interested in peace studies, conflict resolution, and non-violence.”

—Dr. Linda M. Johnston, Executive Director and Professor at the Siegel Institute for Leadership, Ethics, and Character, Kennesaw State University

About the Author

Lyndon Back graduated from State University of New York at Oneonta in 1968. She then moved with her husband and three children to Vicenza, Italy, where she taught English as a Second Language. She has a CELTA/TESOL certificate from the School of International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont. In 1979, Lyn received a master’s in public administration from State University of New York at Albany. Her competency in Serbo-Croatian was earned at the Akbukum Language School in Novi Sad, Serbia.

In 1998, Lyn left her job as director of planned giving at the American Friends Service Committee to volunteer with the Balkan Peace Teams in Belgrade, Serbia, and Prishtina, Kosovo. She was one of only a few American women to live and work in the former Yugoslavia before, during, and after the NATO bombing. Lyn lives in suburban Philadelphia. Her experiences in the Balkans continue to influence her writing. Her poems, essays, and short stories have appeared in numerous literary journals. Lyn is a member of Old Haverford Monthly Meeting (Quakers).