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Trusted Mole: A Soldier's Journey into Bosnia's Heart of Darkness [Paperback]

M.P. Bell Martin , Milos Stankovic
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
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Book Description

17 April 2001

The powerful, disturbing and highly acclaimed account of a British officer in the Parachute Regiment, of part Yugoslav origin, painfully caught up in the savage maelstrom of the Bosnian war.

Milos Stankovic worked as an interpreter and liaison officer for senior British commanders and two British UN generals – Mike Rose and Rupert Smith. Armed with the pseudonym ‘Mike Stanley’ he was propelled from one nerve-racking crisis to another as he helped negotiate ceasefires between rival warlords, secured the release of UN hostages and organised the escape from Sarajevo of stricken families.

Yet his close contacts with the Bosnian Serb leadership of Dr Karadzic and General Mladic bred suspicion and paranoia on all sides – not just in the Bosnian Muslim and Serb ranks (who thought he might be a British spy – General Rose’s ‘trusted mole’) but in the minds of the Americans as well. In a final, horrific twist, the author was arrested by the British authorities on suspicion of being a Serb spy – two and a half years after returning from Bosnia.


Frequently Bought Together

Trusted Mole: A Soldier's Journey into Bosnia's Heart of Darkness + In Harm's Way: Bosnia: A War Reporter's Story + The War is Dead, Long Live the War: Bosnia: the Reckoning
Price For All Three: 22.12

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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New Ed edition (17 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006530907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006530909
  • Product Dimensions: 3.3 x 13 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 286,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

' A Soldiers Journey into Bosnia's Heart of Darkness'

"Milos Stankovic served longer in the Bosnian war than any other British soldier… He was the outstanding liaison officer of his time. He did for Britain in the 1990's what Fitzroy MacLean had done in the 1940's, and in the same turbulent corner of Europe… ['Trusted Mole'] is the best book yet written on the Bosnian war, certainly including my own. It is more than that. It is the most extraordinary soldier's story that I have ever read."
MARTIN BELL, M.P.

This is the powerful, disturbing and highly acclaimed account of how a British officer in the Parachute regiment, of part Yugoslav origin, became painfully embroiled in the savage maelstrom of the Bosnian war. Milos Stankovic's work as interpreter and go-between for senior British commanders propelled him from one nerve-racking crisis to another as he helped to negotiate ceasefires between rival warlords, secured the release of UN hostages and organised the escape from Sarajevo of stricken families.

Yet his close contacts with the Bosnian Serb leadership of Dr Karadzic and General Mladic bred suspicion and paranoia on all sides – not just in the Bosnian Muslim and Serb ranks (who thought he might be a British spy – General Rose's 'trusted mole') but in the minds of the Americans as well. In a final, horrific twist, the author was arrested by the British authorities on suspicion of being a Serb spy – two and a half years after returning from Bosnia.

"Stankovic's book is far more than the outcry of an innocent man foully accused. He has a wonderful eye for detail and a natural storytellers gift, and passion… This man was a hero, caught in the middle and discarded by a military bureaucracy that should be shot at dawn for its betrayal."
JON SWEENEY, 'Observer'

"Well written, gripping and highly informative… a fascinating account of an experience that would leave most people shattered."
ADRIAN WEALE, 'Daily Mail'

About the Author

Milos Stankovic was born in Salisbury, Southern Rhodesia in 1962 – a British citizen with Scottish and Royalist Yugoslav parents, themselves refugees from Yugoslavia. Educated in England, he enlisted in the Parachute Regiment in 1981; the Army sent him to university where he studied Russian at Manchester and in Minsk in the Soviet Union. He has served with the British Army in Belize, Northern Ireland and Africa, and with the UN in post-war Kuwait and Iraq, and two long tours in Bosnia between December 1992 and April 1995.

Prior to his arrest at Staff College in October 1997, Major Stankovic served as a company commander with the 1st Battalion, Parachute Regiment.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful personal story of the Bosnian war. 30 May 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
There are few books that will hold me rivetted from beginning to end. There are even fewer that will do this for my wife. But 'Trusted Mole' has held us both spellbound. This is Milos Stankovic's extraordinary story of the insanity of the Bosnian war, and his own entanglement in that insanity. The madness that faced this British Army officer - a Brit of Serbian and Celtic grandparentage - followed Stankovic home to the UK and... well, you had better read his story to find out. If it weren't true I would dismiss it all as Walter Mitty tosh, or at best as a conspiracy theory dreamt up by someone deeply warped by the paranoia of Bosnia mind games. The story begins with Stankovic's arrest in October 1997 by the British MOD police, the start of a sorry sage that even now is not over. Accused - but never charged- with giving information to the Serbs, Stankovic used the following 2.5 years to explore in book form the background to his expulsion from the British Joint Services Command and Staff College and the collapse of what promised to be a glittering military career. The product - Trusted Mole- is an answer to his accusers. Let's hope they have the wherewithal to understand it. Profoundly honest, Stankovic's tale is one of great power which informs simultaneously on moral, physical and political planes. Like Conrad's Kurtz, Stankovic went on a journey to man's heart of darkness and was recoiled by the horror of his discovery: unlike Kurtz, however, Stankovic retained the balance of his mind and comes back from his journey a better-and stronger - man. Politically, the book reveals in fascinating detail just how decisions were made during the Balkan war - by all sides - and how preconceived ignorance dominated Western particularly American) approaches to the conflict. Read more ›
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gobsmacked... 23 May 2004
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I have read most of the first hand accounts coming from late 20th century British Soldiers of all ranks from all theatres, but i have to say this is one of the best. I knew little of the Conflict in the Former Yugoslavia prior to reading this book, and Milos writes in a style that is honest, easy for the layman to follow, yet detailed enough in a Conflict of such complicated issues and is one small window into the soul of late 20th Century European War....shocking?? Yes.....educational?? Definitely....One of the best Soldier accounts i have ever read
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended 10 April 2010
Format:Paperback
This book should, along with Martin Bell's 'In Harm's Way', be recommended reading for anyone with an interest in the Bosnian war. The author, a British officer of Serbian background, went out to the Balkans as an interpreter for UNPROFOR and came face-to-face with a nigh-on impossible situation in which he was expected to deal with the top brass on all sides - negotiating cease-fires and the release of UN hostages while organising the clandestine evacuation of civilians from a city under constant siege against a background of ruthless civil war and shifting alliances in which even the unity of the UN mission was questionable to say the least. As my old unversity tutor pointed out, nothing in the former Yugoslavia can ever be seen in black-and-white terms; there are only varying shades of grey - and this account more than backs that up.

If I have any criticism, it is the lack of detail given to Stankovic's ordeal at the hands of the morally cowardly MoD, who ruined his military career by arresting him on the evidently pretty vague suspicion of being a spy for the Bosnian Serbs. For this alone, the people in charge of this country's military should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves for what they did to a very brave man.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sordid Tale of a Sordid Time (Best By Far) 27 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback
This has to be the best piece of writing by far covering the Balkan Conflict. Having served in Sarajevo durng this time with the UN Civilan Police I can assure you everything Stankovic writes is authentic and right on the mark. I had always hoped to never forget my experiences in Sarajevo but placed them in a "drawer" that I seldom visited. Soon after cracking this book the sounds, the smells, the people,the futlity,and the danger all came back. Any book that can accomplish this is a tribute to the author.
Stankovic covers the back room deals, the absolute ineptitude of the U.N leadership and most of all the suffering endured by the "the little people". Sarajevo was a dangerous place not only because of the conflict, but also because foreign intelligence services used it as an operational training ground. These services operated behind the scenes but always ended up at the PTT looking for assistance from the same people they were cutting off at the knees. There is no doubt in my mind it was through such people Milos Stankovic met his demise.
This book should be required reading for any member of the military, police,or a civilian contemplating working in an area of conflict.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hair Raising ! 6 Jun 2000
Format:Hardcover
I had always thought that it was music that evoked the strongest memories of situations past and experiences that had staled over time. Until I read Trusted Mole that is.
In his powerful account of his time in Bosnia, Milos recounts much that I have often wondered about since I served with him in Sarajevo. While the details are new to me, his commentary brings a first real understanding of what was afoot in those dark days. However it is his uncanny ability to recreate the atmosphere of the country that set the hairs of my neck on end. I recognised in his descriptions so much of what I too had felt and experienced. While I can never vouch for the details, the atmosphere he creates is uncannily realistic - a true reflection of the hopelessness and frustration felt by so many people on all sides of the conflict.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, real, authentic
An honest, great-hearted man's experience as a peacekeeper during the war in Bosnia, bringing insight and compassion - and sometimes humour - into the mess that war is and the real... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Dionysia
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant expose of the mess that was the war in the Balkans
An amazing book - showing the horror, corruption and general hell of war - and what a pointless war it was . Read more
Published 6 months ago by B D Bose
5.0 out of 5 stars Trusted Mole
A fantastic read. Hard to put down. A definite must read for anyone interested in the Balkan wars of the 90's. I can actually picture the scenes described so vividly. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Mr G
5.0 out of 5 stars deep and diisturbing
this is a very intense insight o the Balkans war detailed and well written,persevere for the first couple of chapters and you get the bigger picture,of the UN jockeying for point... Read more
Published 13 months ago by peter ridyard
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on the Balkans
Superbly written, engaging and a must read. Describes the horror of the war in Bosnia in great detail and makes you feel you were there.
Published 13 months ago by steve scott
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I've ever read...
...and I don't use that line lightly, I've read a few; some good, some bad, some brilliant, some ok. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Lou and Ju
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing
Fascinating book - would very much like to know where the author is today and how he got on in his trial.
Published 17 months ago by Mrs K E Rowbottom
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read
This is a gripping read. It's the only biography that's ever left me trembling from being transported into the author's world (in this case, a war zone!). Read more
Published on 5 April 2011 by PenB
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best of the Lot
My copy of Trusted Mole, is now covered in red ink and pencil marks. I have consulted it on numerous occasions in recent years and every time I read it I am struck by the power and... Read more
Published on 19 April 2009 by Brendan O'Shea
5.0 out of 5 stars BUY IT, READ IT AND THINK
As an aid worker in Bosnia at this time I was perplexed by what was going on, angry and frustrated. Milos Stankovic's book has filled in so many blanks for me and others who were... Read more
Published on 22 Nov 2008 by Mr. D. Hamilton
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