The Death of Yugoslavia

The Death of Yugoslavia

by Allan Little

The Death of Yugoslavia is a survey of the pressures and events that contributed to the break-up of former Yugoslavia, considered from a historical rather than a political or sociological point of view.

  • Language: English
  • Category: History
  • Rating: 4.20
  • Publish Date: June 27th 1996 by Penguin
  • Isbn10: 0140261680
  • Isbn13: 9780140261684

Read the Book "The Death of Yugoslavia" Online

The authors allude to this well-known fact by suggesting Bill Clinton lost hope in peaceful solutions after reading the book Balkan Ghosts (not quite true according to Clinton's own autobiography, published after this edition was published). But the authors don't seem spend more than one sentence on that critical comment, or, generally speaking, enough time on the much longer history which seems intrinsic to so much Balkan conflict.

Finally, the failure to engage with ordinary people on the ground means that only one voice was heard - that of the ruling classes, those able to make themselves heard, and largely the same people who had brought about and conducted the war, while the masses of IDPs and refugees were once again denied a voice. It is their story that is the most important aspect of the narrative of the Yugoslav Wars.

The complexities of the history -- political, religious, ethnic/national -- become clear as day through meticulous book.

This book is packed with names, excerpts from interviews with key political figures, generals, UN peacekeeping commanders, dates and key events which triggered the war and the spark which ignited the inferno that eventually caused 7 nations to be carved out in blood. This book was also very clear in highlighting the inertia of the European Community and the UN as they stood by and watched as Yugoslavia descended into chaos, how the UN had been duped into assisting the ethnic cleansing of the Bosnians from their villages and how Peacekeeping forces often stood by as Bosnian Muslims were massacred not a stones throw away from them.

It does a thorough job of explaining the politics behind the Yugoslav wars in the '90's, and it provided so many details that it was easy to recreate an idea of the situation in Yugoslavia during this time. The list and explanation of politicians and abbreviations at the front of the book was very useful (it became a crutch while I read the book), but because it existed the authors took very little time to explain who people were, yet another source of frustration with the writing.

This was quite confusing at times, given the way it split the conflict into different subjects and events that later turned out to be happening concurrently. In the end, the lack of clarity leaves it playing like a list of political events with no context.

A must read for anyone wanting to understand the Yugolsav civil war in just one book.

First, before reading this book I didn't know much about the Yugoslav wars, at most it was a footnote to other areas of knowledge - NATO strikes showed that international intervention could work for example. This is backed up by the authors narration and analysis of events, meaning that you the reader know the 'facts' as to what happened, but also the rationale each player had for their actions. I read this book because I wanted to understand what happened in Yugoslavia, knowing only that there had been 'some sort of civil war' and maybe a genocide there.

However, the authors themselves admit that their attempt to provide this overview necessitates some simplification; some aspects are completely -- almost jarringly -- left out, such as the case of Macedonia. While this book does not quite succeed in providing a totally comprehensive overview of the breakup of the former Yugoslavia, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a broad explanation of the various conflicts, interests and players involved.