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3.8 out of 5 stars16
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on 7 May 2012
This book about the destruction and war against Yugoslavia is a very good book. If you want to know the real causes and the effects of this war, you have a very entertaining reading, plenty of information and very well written.
I had big hopes and I have fulfilled all of them.
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on 15 October 2011
During the break-up of Yugoslavia in the nineties we were subject to an highly emotional media coverage of several conflicts. As an result the image of an cruel Serbian aggressor has been deeply engraved into our memory. Michael Parenti has with this book taken up the difficult task of picking over the history of the last ten years of Yugoslavia, sorting through lies and propaganda, and shining a light on the involvement and motives of the West in this conflict.

During the trial of Milosevic we had to read that "Milosevic does not deserve a defense". It is symptomatic to the way the break-up of Yugoslavia was handled by both the media and political leaders in the West. From day one it was made clear that the Serbs are the culprits. No bold causation of atrocities was too big, as long as it was committed by the Serbs. The Serbs in their entirety and especially Milosevic were portrayed as guilty. And while the West was the prosecutor, investigator and finally executor in personal unification, the Serbs were not even allowed a defense.

Michael Parenti sorts through all the rubble created by media reports of hundreds of supposedly thousands of people killed in massacres (and then buried in mass-graves), supposedly hundreds of thousands of people in concentration camps, supposedly hundreds of thousands women kept in rape camps and other supposed monstrosities (as implanting a dog foetus into a woman) - all supposedly committed by the Serbs. It is now, over 10 years later, quite clear that these reports were astronomically inflated. Yes, there were despicable acts committed, yet with the sole exception of Sebrenica, these were isolated incidents, committed on par on all sides. Alas, Sebrenica, or to be more precise the missing of it in Parenti's book, is the only weak point in this book - which may be owned to the fact that when this book was written, it was still not clear what really happened in that city. Given the track record of the media coverage, it might have been so that the reports were highly inflated, as proved to be true to all other reports of genocide in Yugoslavia.

The important point in this book for us in "The West" is, that Parenti quite clearly spells out the interests and actions of the West in Yugoslavia. Piecing together the occasional media-reports of US military aid to separatist militias or funding of extremist right-wing separatist parties in the several parts of Yugoslavia - long before the central Yugoslavian government tried to squash these separatist movements - Parenti shows us an image, which we are not shown by the media in its entirety. He shows us an international community which, executed by the NATO, punished Yugoslavia first with an embargo, then with bombing of an considerable part its infrastructure. He shows us that Yugoslavia was punished because it tried to keep the Yugoslavian state together - a right which is taken for granted for themselves by all NATO member states.

Parenti shows us that an especially cynical role was played by NATO during the segregation of Kosovo. While we were bombarded which accusations of Serbian atrocities against the Kosovars - which again turned out to be highly skewed and distorted - it was the Serbian minority that suffered quite badly after the Serbian authorities moved out and the NATO moved in. While the NATO claimed to have acted to prevent exactly these kinds of acts it did absolutely nothing while these acts were happening right under their nose.

In essence, this book is an accusal of the West and its role in the break-up of Yugoslavia - and as such, it should be a lesson to future conflicts when we the people are asked for complicity in "just" wars which are anything than just.
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on 25 December 2014
Should you ever read just one book about the Yugoslavia wars , this is the one .
Parenti masters the methodology to ground the exposure of the systematic pack of lies , distortions and fabrications poured upon us by the MSM in a crescendo leading to the Kosovar Mafia State with its huge miltary base .
There are still ghettos in the heart of Europe ,( not Jews , they were the first ones to flee the " Liberation" of Kosovo ) but Serbs .
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on 6 July 2014
Necessary reading for all of those who were subjected to the propaganda of Nato/US/UK and their media stenographers.
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on 18 January 2004
In 14 years of reporting Yugoslavia neither BBC, ITN or any major newspaper has reported that Alia Izetbegovic (Bosnia's moslem leader) was a wartime supporter of Hitler or that he had publically said "there can be no peace or co-existence with non-moslems" or that Tudjman (our Croatian ally) had said "genocide is commanded by the word of the Almighty". Instead they have reported that Izetbegovic at least is a moderate multi-culturist & the Serbs are the bad guys.
This is an extremely well researched & extensively footnoted book giving, in detail, how we have been lied to over a decade & a half.
Future historians will treat the sources here as being vital in understanding not only this war but western media & government & the collapse of the rule of international law. These subjects cannot be understood without knowing how we have been deliberately lied to by our leaders so that they can literally get away with genocide.
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on 25 September 2006
This excellent little book shows Parenti at his best.This writer is a breath of fresh air and an antidote to the propaganda and sheer rubbish trotted out by such 'left-wing' magazines like Red Pepper ,which supported the criminal violence documented by this spot-on little book.Even Chomsky was fooled by the massive propaganda-barrage put out in support of this war of aggression.The war against Yugoslavia was based on at least as much disinformation,half-truths,fabrication and downright lies as the aggression against first Afghanistan and then Iraq.It was sickening to watch the so-called 'liberal left' cave in to this barrage of bullshit and support the most criminal aggression Europe has seen since 1945. But not Parenti! Parenti does not allow the fact of a communist or formally communist government and society blind him to the propaganda manipulation of an entire layer of liberal opinion across Europe and the US in the service of an illegal aggression which,it turns out, was based on the same half-truths and smoke and mirrors as Dubya's 'war on terror'.It is wonderful to see Parenti stand up for truth, justice and international law when even Chomsky was taken in!
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on 9 September 2002
A brief yet excellent outline of the multitude of factors and players who have directly or indirectly contributed to the latest "Balkanisation." Mr Parenti writes in a clear style, principally using (US) media records to confirm and verify his comments.
Whatever the book may lack in in-depth analysis it makes up for in clarity. Seems a perfect medium for anyone interested in reading of an alternative version of what they have been presented in the Western press previously.
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on 15 October 2003
Parenti's book aims to provide a devastating critique of US and NATO policy in the former Yugoslavia, to cut through the misrepresentation of mainstream media and ideologists, to tell the grim truth. Given the history of official Western duplicity, realpolitik and atrocity this is an important task.
But while much of Parenti's overall analysis of how US foreign policy functions and the terrible human effects it has is about right, his presentation of the issues in the former Yugoslavia amount to a serious and unjust misrepresentation.
Parenti is so concerned to discuss only US delinquency that he goes out of his way to belittle the terrible suffering of Bosnian Muslims and Kosovar Albanians in a manner that is unwarranted and dishonest.
The Srebrenica massacre is given three pages (89-91) in which the discussion focuses entirely on the inadequacies of a television documentary. Readers may judge for themselves, but the heavy implication of these passages, not quite stated, seems to be that the massacre did not even take place and that the claims made by the relatives of the thousands of disappeared are unsubstantiated by evidence. Earlier this year, 600 victims of that massacre were buried in the first such funerals to take place for them - whatever the short-comings of the Bill Moyers' documentary, their is a wealth of evidence elsewhere.
Unfortunately, this is typical of the general approach of Parenti in this book - numerous examples of inadequate and lazy journalism are cited in order to give the impression that there is little if any substance behind accusations made against the regimes of Slobodan Milosevic and Radovan Karadzic.
The concession on page 78 that, "To be sure, there were also Serb atrocities..." followed by a single paragraph of examples does not alter the inaccurate impression given by the rest of the book. Year after year, Amnesty International's reports noted that the majority - the great majority - of killings in Bosnia from 1992-5 were committed by Serbian paramilitaries, a fact that Parenti obscures. Highlighting the crimes of Croatian and Bosniac armies is one thing, but fundamentally obscuring the reality of the war is another. His discussion of the course of the Bosnian war also tends to rely on UN officials as sources, including those whose role in the conflict was deeply unattractive, such as the British general, Michael Rose.
Parenti is right to criticise and condemn NATO's bombing campaign over the FRY in 1999, and he is right to stress that humanitarian concerns played no significant role in the political decision making behind it. But the assertion that NATO's was simply a military extension of neo-liberal economics is unconvincing.
Parenti seems to mean well and his book contains some interesting tit-bits, but it does not offer social activists the coherent, alternative understanding of the wars of Yugoslav sucession that the reviews on the book's cover claim. The book is unjustifiably dismissive of people who have suffered much. As someone who works in a North-East London primary school, there are too many of Milosevic's victims who have ended up in our classrooms to let that pass.
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on 17 February 2007
The reviewer who gave this excellent book one star, has trotted out the same old ant-serb propoganda without doing their own research. It's obvious that they haven't actually read the book!. The quisling Natasha Kandic's organisation is funded by the US and it is they who gave her the video, which was shown at the Hague trial. The video in question was obviously doctored, For instance the time and date at the bottom of the video kept changing or (disappearing altogether!). The reviewer said that the 8,000 Bosnian Muslims allegedly killed at Srbrencia had been "confirmed" confirmed by whom? The original figure that the Red Cross gave (and this is where the generally accepted, but false figure is derived from) was 7,000 MISSING, this includes those who managed to reach the Muslim lines at Tusla. The Bosnian Muslims refused to give any figures to the Red Cross in regard to those who reached Tusla. There is evidence that some Muslim men were executed at Srbrencia in revenge for the countless attacks against Serb villages around Srbrencia, probably by paramilitaries or mercenaries (a Croat mercenary admitted taking part at the Hague Tribunal and was later released-for falsely testifying against Milosevic!). The 7-8,000 figure is not supported by the bodies exhumed in the Srbrencia area. The dead are mainly a mixture of Muslims and Serbs killed in fighting over three years. If it's the truth about the break up of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia that you are after, then read this book along with John Laughland's "Travesty" about the Milosevic Trial (the paperback is on sale at Amazon.)
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on 1 April 2005
Parenti is simply amazing! He uncovers all those "details" that were hidden from us, when talking about the Wars in Yugoslavia. He writes brilliantly and his knowledge is profound. Parenti shows us that it was Croatian and Bosnian leadership that started and WANTED war in Yugoslavia. He also demonstrates to us that Milosevic is not as bad as we would think and that, if compared to Tudjman or Izetbegovic, he shouldn't be even considered as a nationalist. And, above all, he remains objective and neutral. After reading it, you will want to do it again and again! Bursting with little known facts, this book is written using simple language and it is dedicated to all social classes. Do not miss this book
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