Kosovo: War and Revenge

Tim Judah, Author Yale University Press $50 (368p) ISBN 978-0-300-08313-2
The war in Kosovo, Judah points out in his latest account of Balkan politics, didn't begin in 1999. A journalist covering the region for an array of Western publications (the Times of London, the New York Review of Books) throughout the 1990s, Judah (The Serbs) could see that Kosovo was on the brink of explosion--but until something tangible did erupt, his editors wouldn't print anything about it. In 1999, gruesome violence did erupt, culminating in NATO's 78-day bombing campaign. Now, having reported that conflict from the ground, Judah takes a step back to explore its roots in the events of the early 1980s and 1990s. Although not as strong as Noel Malcolm's 1998 book Kosovo: A Short History, Judah's work is an excellent addition to the literature about the Balkans. Drawing on both his firsthand experiences in the region and on secondary literature--and interspersing narrative history with journalistic accounts of warfare and fleeing refugees--he reflects on the longstanding local political struggles and the West's miscalculations. Along the way, he critically profiles Milosevic, NATO leaders (who thought this little war would last only a few days) and the Kosovo Liberation Army (whose own violent revenge began to sweep over Kosovo after the bombing ended). Well researched and melancholy, the book suggests that the bombing campaign was ""a war of human error,"" in which ""all the actors, in Serbia and in the West, just made mistake after mistake."" This is an excellent introduction to the latest phase of Balkan warfare. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/10/2000
Release date: 04/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 348 pages - 978-0-300-08354-5
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