Most helpful critical review
28 of 51 people found the following review helpful
A good general history about Bosnia but by no means perfect
on 11 February 2004
Malcolm has fairly successfully managed to cover roughly 1,000 years or so of Bosnia's history. However, as with so many Balkan historians and journalists writing books during the 1990's, the recent war is portrayed simply as being the Serbs out to destroy the Muslims as a people, whereas it was alot more complex than that. A few other problems with Malcolm's book is that he has taken the advice of Croats and Muslims always seemingly at face-value.
For example, he describes that Serbs did not start to settle in Bosnia until the 15th century (which is wrong because the Serbs had a church in Jajce dating back to the 10th century, which was unfortunately blown up in 1992) and the first Serb settlers are referred to as "Orthodox Vlachs", or Romanies from Romania. While I'm sure there probably were Orthodox Vlachs arriving with the Serbs, it is totally erroneous to describe the Serbs as Vlachs, because the two are completely separate peoples.
Apparently, in his first book published in 1993 or 1994 about Bosnia, he described Serbs as "Gypsies" and made various racist slurs about them and then his book had to be revised. Whether this is true or not, I'm not sure, but I sincerely hope that it isn't because someone with a Ph.D in History from Cambridge University should not be writing such incorrect and provocative history books. This kind of "history" is typical of those Croat and Muslim nationalists who seem to have personal grudges against Serbs and therefore cannot be accepted at face-value.
Also, Malcolm constantly conveys his gratitude towards Croats and Muslims who provided him with information about Bosnia's history. This is a good thing, no doubt; however, he does not seem to extend his acknowledgements to any Serbs and does not ask them about their own history, which indicates that he is definately biased in favour of two sides.