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Kosovo: War and Revenge [Paperback]

Tim Judah
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Mar 2000
"Kosovo: War & Revenge" explains how Kosovo became the crucible of one of the century's most pernicious conflicts: how Serbs and Albanians, sharing this tiny corner of Europe, became locked into a ferocious cycle of domination and revenge. It shows how the conflict that began here led not only to the destruction of the old Yugoslavia, but to a war waged by the world's most powerful military alliance. The book sets the conflict in its full historical context. It analyzes the character and career of Slobodan Milosevic and explains how Kosovo provided the springboard for him to mobilize the Serbs and seize supreme power. It reveals the great lost opportunity of the February 1999 Rambouillet conference for peace and compromise in the southern Balkans. It explains how exiled Kosovar militants could take their war from Swiss cafes to the mountains of northern Albania. And it examines how and why NATO launched its first ever war - a 78-day campaign of high-tech air strikes against Serbia - believing the onslaught would be over in days. Based on research, eyewitness reports and interviews with the leading protagonists, Judah's book presents a detailed account of the origins of the Serb-Albanian conflict, the course of the war, involvement of the Western powers, the implications for the global strategic landscape, and the options for the future.

Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; 1st Edition edition (3 Mar 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300083548
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300083545
  • Product Dimensions: 21.5 x 14 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,090,433 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Tim Judah lived in Belgrade from 1990-1995, reporting for the London Times and the New York Review of Books. When the "ethnic cleansing" started in Kosovo, he was there. So his Kosovo: War and Revenge is well placed to offer some insights, variously scathing and compassionate, on the whole sorry mess. It doesn't matter how many Serbian tanks you (allegedly) knock out with your high-tech bombing raids "since the most potent weapon in ethnic cleansing is the cigarette-lighter needed to set houses on fire". Judah can evoke the madness of Kosovo in a single, startling set piece: vengeful Albanians rampaging through a Serbian Orthodox priest's house; smashing icons; stealing candles; French soldiers from KFOR "looking on amiably"; a nearby Gypsy house also on fire; and a passing French commander explaining to an open-mouthed Judah that the official NATO policy at this moment is "to let them pillage". Paraphrasing a Belgrade journalist, he notes sadly that Serbia has still not found its Adenauer, nor Kosovo its Mandela, which is what both so desperately need. The introductory chapter summarising Kosovo's tortured and tortuous history, is better rendered in Noel Malcolm's Kosovo: A Short History, and, for a wider overview of the Balkans themselves, one would certainly prefer Misha Glenny's The Balkans, 1804-1899. But for an acerbic and perceptive personal account, Judah's book is hard to beat. --Christopher Hart


"Tim Judah's book is the first detailed and reliable guide to these complicated questions, alert to the pressures of Balkan history and culture, and completely impartial." Charles Simic, London Review of Books "very good...Judah cleverly interprets Serbia's sad present in the light of its past." Norman Stone, Sunday Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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For centuries, Serbian history, myth and tradition was passed down from generation to generation through the singing of epic poetry. Read the first page
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4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars One of the more balanced books on Kosovo 31 Jan 2004
Tim Judah has clearly attempted to write a non-biased book about the complex Kosovo conflict and he has succeeded to a large degree. He tries not to fall into the trap of demonising the Serbs as an ethnic group, which has occurred to many other historians and journalists, unfortunately.
However, there are still issues I would raise. For the recent conflict (1999) he describes the aggressive Albanian ethnic cleansing of minority populations after the arrival of KFOR as "revenge", implying that it was understandable. He also quotes the already discredited figure of 11,000 Albanian civilians killed, when in actual fact, KFOR up until now have found around 4,000 corpses, which include Serbs as well as Albanians and also soldiers, not just civilians.
He also seems to have been in favour of NATO bombing and describes the bombing of civilian targets as all being "accidents", which is impossible to believe, since more civilian targets were hit than military. However, compared to most books on Kosovo, it is well-written and more balanced than most.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Judah's Kosovo does not pretend to be more than a journalistic narrative of the conflict in southern Jugoslavia over the last two decades, and a brief review of some of the key features of its history. There could not, therefore, be justice in criticising it for a failure to be something deeper but the extravagant words of some reviewers might lead prospective readers to expect such. As an example of its genre, it can properly be said that the work is better than good - it is well worth the time and its supple style makes for a comparatively effortless read. How much more distressing then that this particular volume has more editing errors within its three and a half hundred pages than all the other Balkan titles with which it shares a long shelf in my bookcase together!
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3.0 out of 5 stars supportive reading 12 May 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While Tim Judah tried to write unbiased book about recent events in Kosovo I would disagree that he succeeded. There's clearly one sided approach to the problem and Serbs made the main villain. The book is very correct from the point of factual description, but some facts are given as 2-3 pages description, while others are just about mentioned.
The international involvement in the conflict once again correctly placated, but I had a niggling feeling, that somehow the correctness is shallow and there was missing something - in depth analysis.
To summarize - 3 for the effort.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Overview. 11 May 2009
By Deep Reader VINE VOICE
Tim Judah's overview is the best published so far. For an insider view, the view of the persecuted, readers should try Shadow Behind the Sun: Flight from Kosovo: A Woman's Story (Non-Fiction)
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8 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Jejune West 10 Mar 2001
By A Customer
Tim Judah is no scholar. This is not a work of great erudition. But, as an eyewitness account, it ranks close to Rebecca West's classic. It is a heart rending and compelling foray into the real "Apocalypse Now" that the Balkan has become once more. Whenever the Big Powers set out to pacify this region they succeeded only in perpetuating the carnage. The result? Never before has the Balkan been more of a powder keg, ready to detonate thunderously. Never before has it been so fractured among political entities, some viable - many not. Never before has it been dominated by a single superpower, not counter-balanced by its allies nor shackled by its foes. This is a disastrous state of things, about to get worse. Driven by America - this amalgam of violent frontiersmen, semi-literate go getters and malignant optimists ("with some goodwill there is always a solution and a happy ending") - the West has committed the sins of ignorant intervention and colonial perpetuation. Peace among nations is the result of attrition and exhaustion, of mutual terror and actual bloodletting - not of amicable agreement and visionary stratagems. It took two world wars to make peace between France and Germany. By forcing an unwanted peace upon an unwilling populace in the early stages of every skirmish - the West has ascertained the perpetuation of these conflicts. Witness Bosnia and its vociferous nationalist Croats. Witness Macedonia's and Kosovo's Albanians and their chimerical armies of liberation. These are all cinders of hostilities artificially suppressed by Western procurators and Western cluster bombs. The West should have dangled the carrots of NATO and EU memberships in front of the bloodied pugilists - not ram them down their reluctant throats in shows of air superiority. Read more ›
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