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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential and very Human inside into the war
Firstly, I would suggest reading this book in conjunction with Silber's book "Death of Yugoslavia". Glenny and Silber worked together for part of the war, and so their accounts coincide nicely. (Although Silber never mentions this in her book, Misha mentions it many times!)While Silber's work focuses on the presidents, leaders, generals, officials and...
Published on 27 April 2001

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In formative and deep
A very complex book, about a confusing situation, but the writer starts in the middle of the conflict, and does not give a background that would make it clearer for an uninformed reader. A good book for one who wants the details and clear explanation of events, but it would be advisable to do some background research first.
Published 8 months ago by Lynn Lister


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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An essential and very Human inside into the war, 27 April 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Fall of Yugoslavia (Paperback)
Firstly, I would suggest reading this book in conjunction with Silber's book "Death of Yugoslavia". Glenny and Silber worked together for part of the war, and so their accounts coincide nicely. (Although Silber never mentions this in her book, Misha mentions it many times!)While Silber's work focuses on the presidents, leaders, generals, officials and politicians, Misha's book focuses on his interpretation of the complex political situation as it develops. In this sense it is a less formal study. His ability to decypher this difficult history is tremeendously useful in gaining an understanding of it. Although maintaining context at all times, the juxtaposition of events separated by years can make understanding what's happening a little difficult. However, I don't blame Misha for that. He has simply chosen to group related events rather than use a rigid chronology. If you are not familiar with the regional geography, then the maps are not going to help you much. Get a good map!
I can confirm that, in my experience of the region, Misha's perception is spot on.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stimulating, fascinating, informative, prophetic., 11 April 2001
This review is from: The Fall of Yugoslavia (Paperback)
I picked up this book during the time that NATO begun bombing Serbia over the dispute for Kosovo and the Kosovo Albanians. I wanted to find out more about this troubled region.
It did not surprise me when Misha Glenny closed his book by indicating that the next Balkan Crisis would be over Kosovo. He certainly did get his facts right.
This is a higlhly informative and stimulating book. It explains the whole Balkan Crisis and tries to reason and explain the foundation of the crisis - Western Influence, ethnic differences.
A very informative book. Highly recommended.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very good account of the disintegration of Yugoslavia, 4 Feb 2004
By 
RM (London Colney, HE UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Fall of Yugoslavia (Paperback)
Glenny has the skill to keep a reader interested during the whole of the book. Although this book is a few years old now and perhaps abit dated (it doesn't cover the Kosovo conflict and was published a year after the war in Croatia and Bosnia ended) it is still excellent reading for those who know little abit the region.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In formative and deep, 6 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Fall of Yugoslavia (Paperback)
A very complex book, about a confusing situation, but the writer starts in the middle of the conflict, and does not give a background that would make it clearer for an uninformed reader. A good book for one who wants the details and clear explanation of events, but it would be advisable to do some background research first.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From vague familiarity to a good understanding., 14 Jun 2010
By 
Elizabeth Burt "lizzy" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Fall of Yugoslavia (Paperback)
As somebody who grew up in Britain through the years of this conflict, but was too young at the time to fully grasp the politics and implications of the war, this book was easily accessible and readable.

A lot of the placenames and political parties involved were familiar to me (in no depth at all, just names that I recognised from the news), and this book placed them all so that I have a fairly comprehensive and clear understanding of the conflict.

Well-paced, with a mixture of historical and political insight, punctuated by personal accounts of Glenny's travels in the warzone that really served to illuminate the lengthier sections.

If - like me - you want to put vaguely familiar names into place, and have a sense of the conflict on a micro and macro scale, I would recommend this book highly.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating and absorbing, revealing and simplistic in equal measures, 11 Mar 2010
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This review is from: The Fall of Yugoslavia (Paperback)
Having recently finished Glenny's book on the last Balkan wars I am left with very mixed feelings about it. As I was reading the first half of the book I rapidly formed the impression that I was reading a sloppily-written, unobjective, unstructured and fundamentally uninsightful account of Glenny's personal experience in Yugoslavia, based predominantly on anecdotes and simplistic caricturisations of the people he encountered. However, I then found the final parts of the book surprisingly clear, intelligently written, absorbing and above all insightful, able to put the destruction and brutality described earlier on into some kind of historical and political context, and with Glenny drawing on his experience and relative 'inside' knowledge of the situation as a BBC journalist to formulate a coherent and intelligent view of the conflict, pulling no punches in criticising the sides involved, including Western nations whose interference he judges to have worsened the situation.

My main problem with the opening chapters is that, in short, Glenny frequently comes across as an unreliable guide to events, insomuch as you want the writer of a historical account to be above all objective, clear and refrain from judging or taking sides. And yet when he is 'setting the scene', the book does not follow a logical structure, flitting around from event to event, anecdote to anecdote inexplicably, leaving you feeling like you're presented with various war scenes, without actually knowing any of the historical or political context, and without knowing what triggered all of this brutality. The end result is that I was left with the impression of listening to an account from someone who was involved in the conflict, and who had already judged everything and everyone that he had seen, but without bothering to explain his judgements, or seemingly incapable of doing so without resorting to tirades against people simply being 'brutal' or 'primitive'.

Whilst many of his anecdotes and experiences are interesting, in my eyes Glenny loses credibility by his style of writing, which is personal rather than detatched and often provides descriptions which come across as superficial or simplistic, sometimes sacrificing accuracy for theatric or emotive effect, or to fit in with his personal views (e.g. "communal life revived faster in Mostar than almost anywhere else in BiH after the war" - as far as I am aware today, Mostar is still a city divided entirely into two communities, but this does not fit in with the image he was trying to paint of the population of Mostar). Whilst some may enjoy this writing style as it makes for a more engaging 'story', I was left with the impression of not having actually learned much. Or again, later on, Glenny describes how Greece strongly objected to Macedonian nationalism, apparently causing untold political and economic damage to the embryonic state. How? Why? What's the history behind this hostility? Why were the Greeks so unhelpful? We don't know and Glenny doesn't tell us, though that doesn't prevent himself from forming his judgement, we've just got to trust him that "Greeks ... prefer to prolong the misery of Macedonia." This is, in short, a simplistic reduction of a charged and complicated situation designed to elicit an emotional response rather than to inform which I found very frustrating, and which occurs throughout the first few chapters of the book.

And yet, despite these shortcomings, the last couple of chapters alone earn my recommendation of this book, as Glenny moves on to give an absorbing and very revealing description of the evolution and political and historical context. I found these chapters to be much better written, not only more engaging but also suffering from less of the shallow descriptions and lack of analysis as the first chapters. The section on Kosovo is genuinely insightful, and provides a context to the events that took place there in 1999, a few years after the book was written. Glenny uses his experience and insight to offer an analysis of the situation which would later prove to be sadly prophetic.

The final chapter is perhaps the most interesting of all, as Glenny looks at how the political leadership of the new Yugoslav states behaved and also how the West intervened, for better and for worse. He doesn't hold any punches in dishing out responsibility to Western countries for behaving irresponsily or naÔvely towards the countries involved, in particular looking at the role Germany played, a point I find tends to be overlooked in most accounts of the subject. And to his credit, he also finally makes the point that all the sides involved had, in their eyes, valid reasons to defend their interests, though this cannot justify many of the actions which took place.

Perhaps one of the clearest problems with books of this type is summed up by Glenny when he writes "our understanding of the war in the Balkans has ... been clouded by ... the tendences of many witnesses to confuse the moral questions raised by the conflict with the political issues that caused it." Whilst he is perhaps himself guilty of making the same mistake at times, the insight and balance offered later in the book goes some way to help us understand the political issues that caused the war, and makes this a valuable read for people interested in the Balkan conflict.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent account of the early stages of the war, 21 Dec 2000
This review is from: The Fall of Yugoslavia (Paperback)
Misha Glenny shows a rare quality for a western observer of the Yugoslav tragedy: he understands peoples traditions, history and habits without prejudice. His account of the early days of the crisis is an excellent starting point for anyone wishing to go beyond the pure facts present in other works. Glenny's book allows you to visist the people as well as the places. Reading it one can feel the place...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Makes the Balkans crisis tangible to those outside of it, 4 July 2014
This review is from: The Fall of Yugoslavia (Paperback)
Fantastically engaging book - Glenny writes in such a way as to take you on a journey through the events in an intensely immediate manner, so that they become real to the reader. If, like me, you have very little background on these events, this is a perfect way to immerse oneself in the history, so that the brute facts have a background to hang together with - and a narrative in which their significance is more easily evident. One is left not with a dry list of discrete historical data, but a richly illustrated picture of the relevant connexions in which these facts sit. A snapshot of a reality.
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5.0 out of 5 stars harrowing, 25 April 2014
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This review is from: The Fall of Yugoslavia (Paperback)
Probably the best book regarding this horrible conflict. I've read a lot about the 1990s wars and watched all the available material and this is the most unbiased.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to a complex history, 28 Jan 2014
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Well written, credible and objective. I would recommend this to anyone interested in trying to understand the complex history of Yugoslavia.
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The Fall of Yugoslavia
The Fall of Yugoslavia by Misha Glenny (Paperback - 31 Oct 1996)
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