Kosovo: A Short History

Noel Malcolm, Author New York University Press $40 (544p) ISBN 978-0-8147-5598-3
In this awe-inspiring work, Malcolm has created a vital successor to his Bosnia: A Short History and an essential aid to anyone who wishes to understand this tragic region today. Through the dazzling use of linguistic evidence, Malcolm postulates that Albanians, whether their nebulous origins are Thracian or Illyrian, can reasonably be placed in the region as early as pre-Roman times. The historical description begins in earnest with the Middle Ages, with the advent of written records, and Malcolm appears to have ferreted out every one. His book is exceptional not only for his unimpeachable research, but also for his equitable examination of the conflicting ethnic views of what really happened in this contentious region, and his determination to debunk dangerous myths. If some will be shocked to learn that Serbian state policy mandated ethnic cleansing for more than 100 years, others will be equally amazed at the resilience of a people who for centuries have been caught in nationalistic crossfire. But probably the most important contribution of the book is its clear and thorough documentation of the legal status of Kosovo over time, and its compelling conclusions that challenge the accepted status quo. One can't help speculating on how a clear understanding of the information contained here might have affected the Dayton Accord and history. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/01/1998
Release date: 06/01/1998
Paperback - 492 pages - 978-0-330-41224-7
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-0-8147-5642-3
Paperback - 544 pages - 978-0-06-097775-7
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