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4.2 out of 5 stars31
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 4 July 2014
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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on 21 December 2000
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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on 27 December 2013
This book could have done with a professional editor to bring a little more coherence to the somewhat rambling description of the terrible events that attended the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia. Vivid descriptions of some of the key personalities involved and a brave attempt to explain their machinations. Maps don't contribute much. It would be good if Mr Glenny revisted and updated this book
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 22 March 2015
First the warnings: "The Fall of Yugoslavia" is not a history book. It came out during the war. It predates the Srebrenica massacre. As it went to print the bridge of Mostar still stood. It does not come with a long list of notes, a bibliography or anything of the sort. It's not a primer on Balkan history (though author Misha Glenny has written one and I found it comprehensive, thoughful and fair) and it's not even a primer on the "Third Balkan War." So the title of the book is misleading. This is, its title notwithstanding, a journal and it does not try to be anything more than a journal.

What we're looking at here is an unbelievably good "source" in other words. A source that deserves all the prizes and accolades it was awarded.

The author personally knows or knew all the main actors of this tragedy and hundreds more besides. He knows the past history, he brings it alive and he applies it to the present, but only when it's relevant. He brings perspective, local knowledge and an uncanny ability to see the situation from absolutely everybody's point of view. Most importantly, this knowledge, ability and perspective resolutely does not prevent him from having a go at saying who's wrong and who's right on absolutely every incident he describes.

The narrative is a blend between the author's itinerary as he ploughs the former Yugoslavia to report on the war, the necessary background to understand each day's events, the interviews he conducted, the profiles of every day's events' protagonists and how he thinks it all fits in. Also, he's not at all shy about making predictions.

Absolutely everything I happen to know about the conflict (and I have two good friends, one a Serb who had to flee, another my lawyer who spent months locked up in Sarajevo before escaping with a plastic bag for her law degree and a one-way ticket to the UK) checks 100% with what's mentioned in the book, but even that is not such a big deal, as the author does not pretend to be writing history, he's merely hoping to be a reliable source.

What we have here is not history and was never meant to be. It is journalism at its very best.

Regardless, history has been extremely kind to the views expressed here. Twenty years after the events took place, there can be little doubt that Misha Glenny was right to identify the Serbo-Croat rivalry as the main underlying cause of the war, the German-sponsored European recognition of Croatian statehood as the blunder that set it off and the declaration of Bosnian independence as the death sentence of thousands of Muslims.
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on 28 October 2013
On a recent visit to Korchula, Croatia and Mostar in Bosnia, it dawned on me that we all know so much about WWII yet most of us know little about the recent civil war in Jugoslavia where many people died. I researched a number books on the subject and gravitated towards this book as my first read about this tragic area.
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on 14 December 2010
A comprehensive and knowledgeable first-hand account of the breakup of Yugoslavia. It explains the complexities of the situation which made it such a bloody civil war. It would be very interesting to have a follow up volume dealing especially with Kosovo.
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on 27 May 2015
Excellant, well-written, informed and relevant appraisal of Yugoslavia's circumstances.
It has encouraged me to read further and I am now reading Misha Glennie's "The Balkans 1804 - 1999" which is superbly illuminating.
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on 14 December 2012
After a recent visit to Croatia and Montenegro I was interested to learn more about the 1990 war. I've found the book extremely well written and informative, making a very complicated situation almost possible to understand.
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on 2 April 2010
Quite impressed with it so far - based on the journalist's own extensive experience across the former Yugoslavia, with bits of history stitching his eyewitness accounts together. Authoritative and personal. Good read.
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on 26 February 2013
Very well written, interesting and does well combining personal anecdotes with a more objective history and explanation of what was happening in the former Yugolslavia. Really interesting and good to read.
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