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Kosovo An account of how Kosovo became the crucible of one of the 20th-century's most poisonous ethnic conflicts. It analyzes the origins of the conflict, the course of the battle, the issues and personalities, and future options. This edition updates the story to, and beyond, the fall of Milosevic. Full description

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For centuries, Serbian history, myth and tradition was passed down from generation to generation through the singing of epic poetry. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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19 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Excellent coverage of Kosovo's recent history 21 juin 2001
Par P. Bjel - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
When fighting in Kosovo began breaking out and hitting news tabloids in mid-1998, the problem was that few people knew about this region's history, let alone its location on the globe. No one could quite understand the motives of Serbs and Albanians, who were at odds with each other. When NATO began bombing rump Yugoslavia for its conduct against Kosovo Albanian civilians, uncritical (and heavily biased) media reports and press coverage were the only source of information that one could turn to for background. While this may have been better than nothing, this information was far from providing a critical and satisfactory explanation and understanding. This was the case, until Tim Judah wrote his second book, the current one now under review.
Judah is a Balkan expert, who speaks numerous languages (including Serbo-Croatian and Albanian) and has written several articles for many newspapers and magazines throughout the world. His previous book ("The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia" [New Haven, 1997 and 2000]) put the Bosnian war into its proper context, while the current puts Kosovo into its respective context. The first chapter is a short, condensed history of Kosovo leading up to the end of the Second World War, while the next sizable portion of the book details key events and personalities throughout the 1980s and 1990s that shaped modern-day Kosovo and unwittingly turned it toward a war-path. Judah discusses the outbreaks of violence in late 1997, the failed efforts of Western diplomats in stopping the bloodshed, a critical and thrilling chapter chronicling the failed Rambouillet peace accords in February 1999, a chapter chronicling NATO's 78-day bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, and the aftermath of Kosovo's tragic conflict: vengeful Albanians returning home and killing Serbs and Roma.
Integral to Judah's work is his assessment of NATO's conduct in the conflict. His thesis is that the entire war was one of "human error," where Western diplomats foolishly believed that they could make Serbia's Milosevic back down within one week. Milosevic, on the other hand, believed NATO to be bluffing and took the alleged bluff. Tensions mounted within the NATO alliance, other world superpowers (in the military sense, aka. Russia and China) began bracing themselves for toil with the US, while Albanian and Serb civilians were either massacred or blown up by NATO's firepower. Totally unprepared of what to expect, NATO carried out blunder after blunder, failed to stop massacres in Kosovo and perhaps made the Balkans even more tense and unstable than before.
It is imperative that readers consult Judah's work for every meticulous detail surrounding Kosovo's recent history. Readers should consult other recent works in understanding Kosovo's ancient past to determine if Serbs really have rightful historical claims to the province, for Judah's first chapter is merely a primer. Of course, there are those critics out there that will cite, as I mentioned in another review, that Judah is not a "professional historian." It is likely that his knowledge, experience and excellent writing style makes his book more valuable and a much better, thrilling and informative read than the work of any academic.
42 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An Excellent, Comprehensive and Informative Book 27 janvier 2000
Par James Ron - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Tim Judah has done it again! A regular correspondent for British and US newspapers in the Balkans, Judah has long provided Western readers with the very best in analytical reporting. He also wrote an excellent, insightful and compelling book on Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs, which was the best of the entire genre of Bosnia-war books.
Judah has now accomplished a second superb piece of analysis and reporting in record time. Working differently than most reporters and academics, Judah uncovers vital but difficult-to-obtain facts that go a long way towards illuminating some crucial puzzles. Where did the KLA come from? Why did it emerge when it did? What were its relations with other Kosovar political actors, including the former Kosovar leader, Ibrahim Rugova? Judah does a superb job of describing intra-Kosovar politics, exploring the trajectories of the different political factions during and after communism.
The most riveting accounts, however, are those dealing with the Rambouillet negotiations, whose failure led to the NATO war. Judah's blow-by-blow description of the tense struggles within the Kosovar delegation and the KLA are spellbinding. Not only is this unrivalled reporting and analysis, but this is great narrative writing.
Judah is perhaps weakest in his discussion of the expulsion itself following the NATO air war. Was the forced displacement already happening when the allied warplanes began their operations, as the Clinton administration argues? Or was the expulsion policy created by the air war itself? If so, was NATO's intervention a mistake? What might have Western actors done differently? Judah seems reluctant to speak out on these issues. He may lack the necessary information and if so, I applaud his caution.
In any case, this is a superb book. I highly recommend it to both experts and laypersons eager to gain a basic understanding of the conflict. To the best of my knowledge, this is the most informative, judicious and readable book now available. A must-read!
15 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Six stars out of five 5 juin 2001
Par heather tyler - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
No matter how much graphic TV footage we saw and how many acres of newsprint we read on the Kosovo crisis, nothing gave us enough information about what was really going on. As with any war situation, information was often unavoidably contradictory and confused, tainted with propaganda. Politicians and historians and revisionists will probably mull over the recent events in Kosovo for years before presenting their views.
In the meantime we have war correspondents cranking up the pace with instant records. While the accounts of war journalists lack the historical perspective that can only occur over time, their freshness and immediacy can be electrifying and there is still opportunity for analysis.
Tim Judah's book is a fine example of what can be achieved. This is not a hasty account. Judah presents a surprisingly fair overview of the Kosovo crisis, which he has rigorously researched with exhaustive notes.
Judah fleshes out the major players from the 12th century to the 20th. He traces Kosovo's troubled history back to the Field of the Blackbirds in 1389 when the Serbian Prince Lazar and the Ottoman Sultan Murad faced off becaused Lazar refused to submit to Ottoman rule. Lazar and Murad died, the Serbs lost the battle. Orthodox Christians and Muslims co-existed uneasily for over 600 years, but Judah's details for much of that time are sketchy. Anyway, we get the picture: that's a long time to hone a grudge and perfect the most savage methods of revenge. He has more information about the history of Balkan bloodshed in the 20th century.
Fast forward to 1999 where Judah examines the polarisation of the murderous Milsosovic regime as the Kosovo crisis unfolds, he gives frontline reports of atrocities, details the burgeoning humanitarian disaster and the intense machinations behind the scenes as the crisis unfolded.
His account of the how the Kosovo Albanian and Serbian delegations, NATO and international peacemakers confronted each other over cheese and claret in a chateau in Rambouillet is as astute as it is entertaining. Judah dispells propaganda on all sides. There was also a lot of background about the formation of the KLA I had known nothing about.
He is contemptuous of experts in far away places passing judgment on the tragic events that unfolded, a viewpoint fairly typical of reporters in the field
Judah's objectivity has allowed for clarity - the hallmark of a great journalist. And this certainly is a great read by a journalist with formidable research skills and meticulous attention to detail.
10 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Fears, Revenge and Desire 27 juillet 2000
Par Dr. C. G. Mazzucelli - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Kosovo: War and Revenge is a superb narrative that places the Rambouillet talks in the larger context of the on-going fears of Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo. The striking account of the talks is the book's centerpiece in which Judah succeeds in describing to the reader what made the parties at the different tables tick. Judah brings the issues at stake and the personalities involved at Rambouillet home to a general audience. In terms of the need to internationalize Kosovo, to keep its plight on the agenda of the international community and in the minds of citizens in democracies who wonder why the NATO allies bombed Serbia, this is an important book. The Rambouillet chapter relies on the meticulous scholarship of Marc Weller, a member of the team of advisers for the Kosovar Albanians present at the talks. Judah draws out the differences within the Albanian delegation as a whole, including representatives of the KLA, which complicated discussions. He also highlights the errors in judgement that were made on all sides which led to a longer conflict in the spring of 1999 than most anticipated. In the conflict Judah captures the spirit of revenge on the part of the Serbs as well as the retaliation of the Kosovar Albanians once the bombing stopped. Milosevic's miscalculations are important to understand particularly his belief that it was possible to "export the war to Bosnia". A critical error was Serbian reliance on potential Russian assistance. In fact, as the book's ninth chapter demonstrates, it was a combination of personalities, Chernomyrdin, Ahtisaari and Talbott, that facilitated the compromise Milosevic would eventually accept. It was imperative to devise a way to engage the Russians constructively in the crafting of the terms to end the bombing campaign. Judah is less concerned with how we analyze the causes of ethnic conflict in Kosovo. In our consideration of various explanations, including James Kurth's analysis of "historical legacies and "primordial hatreds": the cultural prism; the dynamics of modernization and "the invention of tradition": the socioeconomic prism; and political entrepreneurs and "failed states": the political prism", Judah leaves us to ponder the revenge factor. Aleksa Djilas' thoughts in the book's closing lines are, in this sense, revealing: "...the Serbs are not exactly a "forgive and forget" nation. If they have remembered the 1389 defeat for 610 years, why not this one"? In light of the challenges the UN Mission faces on the ground in Kosovo, this book contributes in hindsight to our understanding of why it is difficult to keep the Balkans peace. The limits outsiders may encounter in the use of diplomatic leverage and military power there, in Fromkin's words, "...at the frontier...where Europe meets the Middle East, and where tomorrow is blocked by yesterday..." are a reminder of our present and collective reality.
12 internautes sur 18 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Judah beats authors to the punch year after war 17 mars 2004
Par N. P. Stathoulopoulos - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Overall, this is a much better book than Judah's previous work, Serbs. It appeared hardly a year after the conflict in Kosovo, and with the wealth of material that has appeared about Serbia, Kosovo, and Milosevic, it is slightly dated in its tone, though the many quotes and accounts of the happenings on the ground are valuable.
The dirty secrets of this conflict are touched upon: the recruitment of hardcore criminals to become members of MUP (interior ministry police who were tapped to murder civilians and suspected terrorists), the elaborate chain of command that Milosevic worked while avoiding any paperwork that could tie him directly to any war crimes, the flat out aggression by NATO against the civilian population of Serbia, the heightened humanitarian crisis that the bombing actually produced, etc.
While the Serbs are generally the Nazis of the 90s during the Balkan wars, with the Kosovo conflict it is Milosevic who begins to bear the brunt of the blame, while the Serb people are hapless bystanders punished for their support of a de facto dictator whose cynicism sealed his own fate.
The Kosovo war is beginning to take on a strange tint. The 'humanitarian' reasons for the war are suspect at best. The massive NATO bombing helped escalate the waves of violence on boths sides. It also helped them slap together a hasty indictment against Milosevic and his top brass, all charged with war crimes that occurred after NATO started dropping bombs on their heads. Go figure. Meanwhile, it was known from the outset that no ground troops would ever enter Kosovo or Serbia, so there was an expected rise in the ethnic cleansing.
What's interesting is also the cover. It shows the side of a building with a massive hole, the kind usually produced by bombing. Peering out is an Albanian man, suggesting that the 'humanitarian intervention' is, of course, anything but.
Perhaps not stressed enough is the wealth of disinformation about the conflict itself. The number of suspected dead was grossly exaggerated, the damage done to the Yugoslav army grossly exaggerated, and the overall success of the war completely questionable. Is it humanitarian intervention to blow apart a country from above while exacerbating the crisis you claim to be reversing? In many ways, Kosovo was a manufactured war against a trumped-up bogeyman. In a post 9/11 world, does this sound familiar?
The war did not solve the Kosovo issue, far from it. Its product was revenge killings of Serbs who had lived in the province for generations, while giving legitimacy to glorified terrorist organizations like the KLA, which officially disbanded, only to appear in modified form later, attacking people in Serbia proper while the UN stood around and watched. It also strained relations between the US and Russia and with China. It was a heavily protested war in Europe, and it didn't help when the Chinese Embassy was blown up 'accidentally' when it was clearly marked on common street maps of Belgrade. Oops! With characteristic contempt for international law, Clinton had his own war of aggression.
Of interest in this book are the accounts of some of the murderers, who speak in frank terms about their job. Overall, this is a better piece of work than the distorted book, Serbs.
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