MILOSEVIC: A Biography

Adam LeBor, Author . Yale Univ. $35 (448p) ISBN 978-0-300-10317-5

Drawing on pithy interviews with key players, LeBor (Hitler's Secret Bankers ), who covered the Yugoslav wars for the Independent and the London Times , traces Milosevic's rise from a provincial childhood to leader of the Serbian Communist Party and then the Serbian presidency. LeBor absorbingly details Milosevic's self-serving strategizing in the independence movements in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia; his manipulation of Serb nationalist fervor; and his shadowy network of agents and gangsters. Firsthand interviews with Milosevic's wife and collaborator, Mira Markovic, allow LeBor to infuse his account of the Milosevic-Markovic "personal para-state" with insights into the couple's oddly contradictory ideological stances. He depicts their insular family life with obvious distaste for their seeming indifference to the tragic events around them. LeBor presents the West's attempts to abate war in the region as dynamic, if at times misguided; following his account of the peace accords negotiated at Dayton, Ohio, where Milosevic was an honored guest, he soberly remarks that between "statesman or war criminal," finally, "much of the difference, it seems, is in the eye of the beholder." Milosevic's involvement in ethnic cleansing emerges even more explicitly in the endgame of his rule, as Serbia battles the Kosovo Liberation Army. An afterword delivers further proof of Milosevic's guilt from his ongoing trial for genocide at the Hague. This disciplined, dispassionate portrait focuses on the actions of "an autocrat motivated by power." It does not attempt psychological speculation or a more theorized portrait. Highly readable, yet savvy about regionally specific realpolitik, this political biography will greatly enhance the lay reader's understanding of recent events in Yugoslavia. Illus. not seen by PW ; maps.Agent, Laura Longrigg. (Apr.)

Reviewed on: 03/22/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 386 pages - 978-0-7475-6090-6
Open Ebook - 432 pages - 978-1-4088-2770-3
Paperback - 448 pages - 978-0-300-19448-7
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-7475-6181-1
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