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Milosevic: A Biography by [LeBor, Adam]
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Milosevic: A Biography Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Length: 434 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

"Fascinating….well written, thoughtful, accessible and often compelling." -- Brendan Simms, Sunday Times.

"LeBor charts with dexterity and black humour the rise, and eventual fall of this provincial Communist functionary." -- Marcus Tanner, The Independent.

"Taut, well-constructed….LeBor presents more than a useful history of the Balkan
wars." -- Stephen Robinson, Daily Telegraph.

"The best Milosevic biography so far….pacey, highly readable." -- Tim Judah, The Observer.

'a haunting portrait of the man the West said it "could do business with"’ -- FERGAL KLEANE, Mail on Sunday

 "This is a valuable account, written with journalistic vigour but also with a solid command of the facts." -- Sunday Telegraph, 13th October 2002

From the Author

This book was born out of my experiences as a correspondent in Croatia and Bosnia in the early 1990s, first for The Independent, and later for The Times. But whichever side of the front lines I found myself on, one name was always to the fore: Slobodan Milosevic.

For many, Milosevic has now become a hate-figure, a Balkan Saddam Hussein. But it is often forgotten - not least in the Serbian capital Belgrade – that all through the 1990s, Milosevic and his Socialist party won and held power through a decade’s worth of elections.

The book is my attempt to understand the man blamed by many for the collapse of Yugoslavia and its descent into four bloody wars, and the forces that shaped his life. It is the first full-length authoritative account of Milosevic’s life, from his child-hood in the drab Serbian city of Pozarevac to his current incarceration in UN detention centre in The Hague. I did not set out to demonise Milosevic, but rather to unravel and illuminate both the forces that created him, and those that he and his allies unleashed in their bid to maintain power.

For example: few now remember that back in the early 1980s, Milosevic was seen as a reformer. As a successful international banker turned politician, he was viewed by many as an ideal candidate to steer Yugoslavia out of Communism into capitalism. Yet he was psychologically unable to make the transition from one-party state to freedom. Nor was he alone in this. The destruction of Yugoslavia, a once-sophisticated multi-national country, was not organised solely from the Serbian capital Belgrade. At varying times Milosevic had de-facto allies in the Croatian leader Franjo Tudjman, and his Slovenian counterpart Milan Kucan.

In its pages I have attempted to recreate the now vanished world of Tito-era and post-Tito Yugoslavia, from 1945 to the present day, so as to present the reader with a colourful and vivid context in which to understand the course of tragic events that marked the Milosevic decade. It is authoritative enough to take its place on university bookshelves, but also lively and full of human interest, enough, I hope, to capture the attention of the general reader who is not a Balkan specialist, and keep the reader turning the pages.

I also take a critical look at Milosevic’s relations with the west, including Britain and the United States. Now that he is a prisoner of the Hague tribunal, many in both the Foreign Office and the State Department would prefer to forget that for a decade, Slobodan Milosevic was treated as a respected statesman by a succession of world leaders and their envoys, such as Britain’s Lord Owen and the United States’ Richard Holbrooke. War criminal, or bastion of Balkan stability? The difference, it seems, lies not in deeds, but the fluctuating demands of western realpolitik.

I carried out dozens of interviews with those who had first hand dealings with Milosevic, such as Croatian president Stipe Mesic, Slovenian President Milan Kucan, as well as several former close associates and his wife, Mira, and brother Borislav, who spoke frankly for the first time about their childhood and the tragic deaths of their parents, both of whom committed suicide. The life and times of Slobodan Milosevic make a lengthy and complicated and tragic story. I hope my book succeeds in illuminating this dark and complex era of modern European history.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3109 KB
  • Print Length: 434 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0747561818
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Paperbacks; 1 edition (15 Jan. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006ZLY0OU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #414,730 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wanted to try to understand how this ruthless monster could kill innocent people (including someone I knew) - and create the worst atrocities in Europe since the 2nd world war.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found Lebor's book to be very good; it grabs the reader's attention from the first page and once that happens, it is very difficult to put down. Lebor's book charts Milosevic's life from his hometown of Pozarevac, to his career in banking, to his famous 1989 Gazimestan speech, to the bloody Balkan conflicts and finally to his internment in the Hague.
I believe it is more of a general history book, than a biography, however. We get to read about Milosevic, the loving father and family man as well in this book, which makes a nice change from the constant evil and news-worthy "Butcher of the Balkans" persona. However, after reading this book, there is no real way that those people who reserve sympathy for Milosevic can be sympathetic to him any longer. It clearly demonstrates that Milosevic knew and gave the go-ahead for violent Serb paramilitary groups, such as Arkan's "Tigers" to operate freely in Bosnia and Croatia and how Milosevic clearly sold out the Serbs in Bosnia and Croatia by 1993.
Saying that, the book also reveals the extreme hypocrisy of Western leaders, from labelling Milosevic as an evil tyrant in 1992-1993, to a "peacemaker" in 1995 at Dayton, Ohio and back to "Butcher of the Balkans" during the Kosovo conflict in 1999.
Well-worth the read!
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Format: Hardcover
It is entirely appropriate that this book should start and end with the story of Milosevic’s family: the opening paragraph describes his mother and father, whilst the final sentence tells us that ‘Like Yugoslavia under his rule, Milosevic’s family has been rent asunder’. Without an understanding of his family we are none the wiser about Milosevic and in this regard LeBor does not disappoint, focusing on his parents (both of whom ultimately committed suicide), wife and children. And it is a telling indictment of the man that he was willing to sacrifice the unity of his family, as well as his state, in his quest for power.
Milosevic’s father left his mother when Sloba was only six. In a conservative country where single parenthood was disapproved of deeply, this must have affected Sloba deeply. LeBor gives us a very readable account of Milosevic’s early days (‘friendless and fatherless’), suggesting that a lonely childhood, and ambitious single mum must have been significant factors on his later lust for power. Though perhaps not as significant as his obsessive wife, Mira, whom he met and fell in love with at school.
And it is the extensive interviews with Mira that lend the book much of its weight. Unable to speak to Milosevic himself, LeBor goes to the power behind the throne. Indeed, if one accepts the ‘Lady Macbeth’ hypothesis – and LeBor provides compelling evidence that Mira was the catalyst for her husband’s lust for power – then we arguably learn more from her about her husband’s rule than we would from Milosevic himself.
As well as giving us a rich portrait of the rise and fall of Sloba, LeBor tells us the post-war history of Yugoslavia.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
It has been several years since I read this book. A great read if you are interested in anything to do with the Former Yugoslavia and the rise and fall of Slobodan Milosevic. Fairly interesting with plenty information which is written well. A recommended read!!
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Format: Hardcover
Adam LeBor has accomplished that difficult task of revealing the complex and very human reality beneath the popular charicature of a disgraced and deposed dictator.
LeBor skillfully guides us through Milosevic's rise through the communist party apparatus in 1980s Yugoslavia, traces his role in the destruction of Tito's creaking creation, and assigns Milosevic his due responsibility for the worst atrocities committed in Europe since World War II.
But the account is balanced, not only in assigning guilt to leaders in Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, but also in squarely blaming Western governments for failing to stop the Balkan conflicts sooner. Indeed, some Western politicians emerge more as cynical enablers of Milosevic than as skilled diplomats or peacemakers.
In addition to all this, LeBor manages to capture a three-dimensional Milosevic. He is a heartless political thug and a man with a tragic family history. He is an accused war criminal, yet a warm and caring husband and father. In short, LeBor captures reality, rather than regurgitating established cliches. In the end, we have a clearer picture of the man in the Hague and the events that led him there.
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