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Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know [Paperback]

Tim Judah
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2008 What Everyone Needs To Know
On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared its independence, becoming the seventh state to emerge from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. A tiny country of just two million people, 90% of whom are ethnic Albanians, Kosovo is central - geographically, historically, and politically - to the future of the Western Balkans and, in turn, its potential future within the European Union. But the fate of both Kosovo, condemned by Serbian leaders as a "fake state" and the region as a whole, remains uncertain. In Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know, Tim Judah provides a straight-forward guide to the complicated place that is Kosovo. Judah, who has spent years covering the region, offers succinct, penetrating answers to a wide range of questions: Why is Kosovo important? Who are the Albanians? Who are the Serbs? Why is Kosovo so important to Serbs? What role does Kosovo play in the region and in the world? Judah reveals how things stand now and presents the history and geopolitical dynamics that have led to it. The most important of these is the question of the right to self-determination, invoked by the Kosovo Albanians, as opposed to right of territorial integrity invoked by the Serbs. For many Serbs, Kosovo's declaration of independence and subsequent recognition has been traumatic, a savage blow to national pride. Albanians, on the other hand, believe their independence rights an historical wrong: the Serbian conquest (Serbs say "liberation") of Kosovo in 1912. For anyone wishing to understand both the history and possible future of Kosovo at this pivotal moment in its history, this book offers a wealth of insight and information in a uniquely accessible format.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 214 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (1 Sep 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195373456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195373455
  • Product Dimensions: 20.7 x 14.1 x 1.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 219,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

"A straightforward guide to the history and geopolitics of Kosovo and the first book on the country since its declaration of independence in February this year."--The Economist"Packs a surprising amount of nuance into a slim volume... a solid introduction to an important topic."--Booklist"Judah does a commendable job of telling the dense story in an understandable fashion. Because the region changes so quickly, an up-to-date history like this is welcome."--Library Journal

About the Author

Tim Judah is a correspondent for The Economist covering the Balkans. He is the author of Kosovo: War and Revenge, and The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was once asked if I thought the Northern Ireland conflict was difficult to comprehend. Not really, I replied. What confounded me was that as so many people within Northern Ireland understood the various factors involved, why work towards any resolution took so long.

Put another way, I found comprehending the geo-political situation of former Yugoslavia more difficult. For most of its former republics, resolutions were via the bloody wars of the 1990s.

And then there's Kosovo, with its independence declared in 2008, but how much resolved?

For the sake of my day job, I had to get a good grasp of the situation of Kosovo. A good friend endorsed my short-listed choice of Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know, by Tim Judah, Balkan Correspondent for The Economist.

In the Author's Note, Judah says that his book is to give general readers a straightforward introduction. He well achieves this. But a "general reader" who has some education in international relations, or at least is an avid reader of The Economist, will find the introduction that much easier to absorb. This is not because Kosovo is not easily accessible; it is. But there is a good amount of history and culture to take in the book's concise 160 pages.

Judah does well in the first two chapters to provide cultural and historical overviews of Albanians and Serbs. Of course, this has to be a little superficial in such a generalist book. But an important highlight is that for Albanians, and particularly for those residing in Kosovo, it was language more than the role of the church that influences their nationalism. This contributed to a delayed nation-building -- surrounding peoples and places having several hundred years' head start -- with its own consequences.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Short but informative 30 Jan 2009
Format:Paperback
It tries to remain neautral throughout and treats both sides of the story evenly. However at fewer than 151 pages (excluding bibliography, etc.) it is far too short.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Judah's book, culture for everybody! 12 Mar 2012
Format:Paperback
No matter the difficult topic, Judah managed to show a complete picture of the facts and history in a way that every person out there could understand. Written in a very simple, clear and tidy language, the book reading goes fast and relaxing at the same. The information flow comes and goes without the reader "noticing" it, so well done is the entire picture of the story.
There is a constant balance then among the involved cultures and ideas, and that is also very important when about an issue like Kosovo.

From my own experience, I can say that this book can be, either a first step towards the topic (for beginners) or a complete view on the same, for those just willing to have a clear, fast, exhaustive picture of the Region and its own history.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know 4 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This even-handed account of the past century and possible future of Kosovo is explained with admirable clarity by this
correspondent for the Economist.
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