The uskoks of Senj were irregular soldiers of the Habsburg Military Frontier in the sixteenth century, who lived by warfare or banditry, depending on the occasion and the perspective, and acted from their Adriatic base at the borders of the Habsburg, Ottoman, and Venetian empires.
Bracewell is especially accomplished in bringing different historical approaches to bear upon the subject of the uskoks, with chapters that explore hard military, political, and economic issues, for instance, on "Border Military Systems," on "The Raiding Economy," and on "Military Authority and Raiding." Other chapters study subtle social and cultural issues, for instance, on "Motives of the Uskoks" and on "The Uskok Code." Especially important is Bracewell's discussion of the relation between ideology and the raiding economy, that is, the sense of religious mission on the Ottoman frontier and the distinction between licit and illicit objects of plunder.
As a study of the South Slavs the book is also one of the most important works on the history of early modern Eastern Europe to be published in recent years, and its importance comes in part from its intellectual integrity in refusing to concede any artificial or anachronistic distinctions between "Eastern Europe" and "Western Europe." The uskoks are studied in the context of the Habsburg, Venetian, and Ottoman empires, and the economic and strategic significance of the Adriatic receives analytical priority, rendering unnecessary any reductionist geopolitical distinctions.