Customer Reviews


12 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book
This book was first published in 1995, a few months before the war ended; a second edition followed in 1996. This 2012 edition is a revised and updated version. Martin Bell states 'I wrote this book of instant history because I felt it would not wait and would better be written by someone who was there. Historians are seldom eyewitnesses. I know two things now that I...
Published on 3 April 2012 by Mister G

versus
2.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I has hoping to learn something about the conflict which always seems so complicated but I learnt nothing. The book is largely a list of the author's meetings with various participants but I lost track of who was who and which side they were on and - unusually for me - I gave up on the book midway through .
The book does explain some of the dangers of war reporting...
Published 2 months ago by JPW


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book, 3 April 2012
By 
Mister G (Bristol) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: In Harm's Way: Bosnia: A War Reporter's Story (Kindle Edition)
This book was first published in 1995, a few months before the war ended; a second edition followed in 1996. This 2012 edition is a revised and updated version. Martin Bell states 'I wrote this book of instant history because I felt it would not wait and would better be written by someone who was there. Historians are seldom eyewitnesses. I know two things now that I did not know then. One is the body count... we now know that some 98,000 people were killed in the course of that war...'

He writes about UN soldiers being horrified by both what they saw and by being unable to do anything about it - for example, standing by as Sarajevo was destroyed by Serb artillery.

This was the first satellite TV war - pictures beamed straight from the war zone critically without censorship. As a result it put tremendous pressure on the British government to intervene. Initially it resisted - Douglas Hurd is quoted as saying 'There is nothing new in such misery. There is nothing new in mass rape, in the shooting of civilians, in war crimes, in ethnic cleansing, in the burning of town and villages. What is new is that a selection of these tragedies is now visible within hours to people around the world'. The author quotes G K Chesterton, who was obviously not talking about satellite TV at the time but might as well have been: 'It's not the world that has got so much worse but the news coverage that has got so much better'.

Mr Bell reports on the horrors of the war - the atrocities by both sides; the targeting of civilians by snipers; the relentless artillery bombardments; and the relief brought by fog because snipers could not operate. There are memorable quotes such as 'the Serbs seemed to model themselves on the old Western gunslinger Wild Bill Hickok: he was said never to have killed a man except in self-defence, but to have spent a great deal of his time defending himself. And the Serbs weren't waiting to be attacked, they got their retaliation in first... Hardly a mosque was left standing. This was planned and deliberate.'

This links to something I was unaware of - 'two of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers, in their martyrdom videos, gave the war in Bosnia as one of their reasons for signing on. So there was actually a linkage between the siege of Sarajevo and the destruction of the Twin Towers'.

This is a fascinating book on the Bosnian war and its significance, told by Mr Bell in a self-deprecating manner. He is not only an Honourable man but an honourable man and it is a shame that he is no longer an MP.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In harms way, 1 Nov 2012
By 
David Rowland - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Martin Bell was the BBC's principal television correspondence during the Bosnian war between 1991 and 1995 and he was an eye witness to the greatest period of bloodletting in Europe since the second world war and most sadly it was a war that need not have happened. His superb book not only tells the fascinating story of his own experiences on the front line but reveals the causes of the war and describes some of the personalities involved. He became a familiar figure to TV audiences with his white suit and his calm delivery of shocking events including the massacres at Srebenica and Ahmici and the long siege of Sarajevo. One of his most famous television reports from Bosnia included him being wounded by a sniper.

His book shows his admiration for the soldiers posted there who had an impossible job in the conflict who because of their rules of engagement were prevented from intervening in the fighting to help people and who had no choice but to be passive bystanders to many horrendous events including ethnic cleansing and massacres. It was a war of incredible intensity and cruelty especially for civilians where hatred between Serbs, Croats and Muslims, many of whom had previously lived beside each other in peace and harmony lead to events that shocked Europe whose inhabitants had come to believe that the kind of things that took place between 1939 and 1945 could not possibly happen again in their continent.

Bell produces many valuable insights about the war and how it was covered by correspondents and he does so with self effacing humour and great humanity. It is a great read and anyone interested in the war in the former Yugoslavia and how the story was told to the world must read it to get a balanced view of the conflict whose consequences are still very much apparent in this unhappy and unsettled area of Europe.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In harm's way: Bosnia: A war reporter's Story. Martin Bell., 16 Aug 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
What an amazing book. Martin gives so much of the background of the Bosnian War at first hand experience. It shows how difficult it is, even for an experienced reporter, to try to give an even handed account of what happened. He puts himself in danger's path by getting first hand information from both sides and through his writing gives a real feeling of being amongst all the mayhem, confusion, and horror of the war. The world is a better, and more informed, place because people like him put themselves in danger in search of the Truth for us. He never loses sight of his concern for those caught up in the war - he is there to report and inform. A humble knight in a white suit.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A brilliant read!, 9 Jun 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: In Harm's Way: Bosnia: A War Reporter's Story (Kindle Edition)
I wanted to read this book as I have a sister living in Sarajevo who experienced this war first hand. I thought Martin Bell did a brilliant job in writing this book, unbiased and very accurate of his time spent there and frustration at the UN and the rest of the worlds inertia to intervene properly. A very good read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thought provoking, 9 Jun 2012
This review is from: In Harm's Way: Bosnia: A War Reporter's Story (Kindle Edition)
This is not actually a new book but a revised and updated edition of the same which was originally released in 1995 (and revised in 1996). It has been released to mark the 20th anniversary of the outbreak of hostilities.

The original book was written during the period covered by the book during the Bosnian conflict of 92-95 and covers Martin's experiences there with a far amount of divergence along the way.

Martin Bell was a BBC TV war reporter for many years and covered wars all across the world, famously wearing a white suit whilst doing so and collecting a fragment of mortar shell in the process of filming in Bosnia. He did his National Service in the late 50's in the Suffolk Regiment and is still proud of his affiliation to them. His affection feelings towards British soldiers comes through consistently in the book.

In Harm's Way is not a history book of the conflict, in fact there is little background given to the start of the war, and within each chapter there can be a bit of jumping back and forth chronologically. This is probably explained that when written the events would have been very fresh in the minds of readers. Now however, trying to recall the sequences of the various Balkan conflicts around that time is not so clear (even to a Cold War Warrior who was on 48 hours notice to deploy there at one point).

I think one aspect of the book that immediately hits you is the number of the media who were wounded and killed during this conflict. This is explained as a relatively new thing as the past they were mainly protected from harm. However the indiscriminatory nature of this war did away with that coupled with the desire for more and more reports direct from the front line.

Martin holds back no punches when he describes how he feels about the UN involvement particularly how ineffective it was as a peacekeeper force, failing to maintain safe zones and concentrating almost on just ensuring aid conveys got through so that the civilians could be fed when they were killed! He quite succinctly describes the failings around multiple nationalities working together as a joint force when they are responding to both local commands and to their own governments back home..

Colonel Bob Stewart obviously made a huge impression on the author during his time in Bosnia together with the Cheshires. He devotes a chapter to him and defends him against the criticism he received at the time. He again spends time describing some of the elements around various commanders such as Generals Rose and Smith which led to their various trials and tribulations whilst trying to maintain peace, or a least confine the fighting.

I enjoyed the book, it makes you think about what the actual role of the UN is and what part nations should play in protecting the civilians of others. Are the lives of a few of our soldiers worth many civilians from somewhere else? It is a constant question that arises even now. (and I suspect may be an ulterior motive behind the re-release of the book) One gets the impression that Martin Bell definitely believes that the sacrifices of the armed services are made for good causes and that it should continue as such.

This message is especially true given the current circumstances in places such as Afghanistan and Syria.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well put together, 10 Feb 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Not sure I am any wiser as to the why's and wherefore's of this horrific war, but a fascinating insight into the life of a war correspondent.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars An illuminating study by a great war reporter of our age, 3 July 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
A fine piece of reporting that illuminates and educates. It somehow passed me by at the time. I watched the news but didn't grasp the causes and the aims and grievances of the various ethnic groups. I bought this together with 'Safe Area Gorazde'. The latter is a comic style treatment that looks at the war through the microcosm of one town. Both are works of great merit in their own right and also complement each other well. Also bell refers directly to the so called safe haven of Goradze.
Martin Bell manages to gradually build up the overall picture and looks at many aspects of the war through his experiences with leaders of all sides as well as moving stories of local journalists as well as BBC crews he worked with. His friend and local journalist in one instance gives his life trying to bring images of the conflict to the screens of the news watchers. Bell is in Berlin on a royal assignment of little worth when he hears the news and like the man he is flies out to Bosnia the following morning and goes to see the ruined parents of his friend. He helps organise and speaks at the funeral where 2,000 people come to pay tribute to the young journalist. One of many moving personal experiences.
He also digs deep questioning the UN and its aims and says that they basically let down the Bosnians in their weak and vague mandate. He writes with a subtle style all of his own and with conviction and insight. By the end of it you have a very sound understanding of the conflict from many perspectives. A book that will become a classic of the period, if it hasn't already.
I would be interested to hear Martin Bell's take on the UN's inability to take a stance over Syria. History repeating itself?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2.0 out of 5 stars Boring, 8 May 2014
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: In Harm's Way: Bosnia: A War Reporter's Story (Kindle Edition)
I has hoping to learn something about the conflict which always seems so complicated but I learnt nothing. The book is largely a list of the author's meetings with various participants but I lost track of who was who and which side they were on and - unusually for me - I gave up on the book midway through .
The book does explain some of the dangers of war reporting and the author often uses an interesting and amusing turn of phrase.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars should be a great read when I get around to it!, 24 Jun 2013
By 
gary david merrin "GD merrin" (kelmscott perth western australia) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I saw his tv segments often enough can't wait to read more abouut behind the scenes having worked in the media myself his tales should be great
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, 7 Jun 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Went to Croatia for a holiday and wanted to know more about the Homeland War. Martin Bell was a very interesting read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews