It is difficult to understand the structure of this deeply flawed and uneven collection of essays. Why include Milosevic, but not Tudjman? Why Carol II, but not Antonescu (the "Third Man of the Axis")? No explanation is provided.
The essays themselves are very uneven. Take, for instance, Maria Bucur's chapter on Carol II. At the time, Romania was one of the world's major oil producers. This had not just economic implications (unlike its Balkan neighbours, due to oil Romania had a large wad of cash to spend on re-armament), but also political and military consequences (acquiring control of Romanian oil was a major German objective). Yet this is not even mentioned, let alone discussed. Romania's armed forces were Carol's "special project". Hence, their performance in the summer of 1940 and, starting less than a year after his fall, in the Russian campaign, should be considered in an assessment of his rule; yet, the issue is ignored.
Such shortcomings aside, what is most striking (and most disappointing) about these essays is the naked political advocacy of their authors. The lowest depths are plumbed by the chapter on Tito, by John Fine, a scholar of otherwise great stature and reputation. It would be incorrect to describe it as a scholarly essay; it is rather an exercise in hagiography and a paean of praise for the "Once and Future Yugoslavia" (p. 291). Fine justifies the murders of well in excess of 15,000 people because they made Tito's task "easier" (p. 283); he justifies ethnic cleansing (as long as the cleansed were German, p. 281); he compares the infamous UDBA with the FBI (p. 292); he believes criticisms by humanitarian NGOs were "unfair" (p. 315); and so on. Felicitous phrases such as "gullible workers" and "chauvinist poison" (p. 302) are merely the glazing on this thoroughly over-egged pudding.