Surviving the Bosnian Genocide: The Women of Srebrenica Speak Hardcover – 25 Nov 2011
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"A book of remarkable integrity that gives the victims voices, faces, families, and lives... The author succeeds in creating an honest and sensitive picture from the jumble of stories, emotions, and reminiscences... A work of great social relevance." Internationale Spectator
About the Author
Selma Leydesdorff is Professor of Oral History and Culture at the University of Amsterdam. She is author of We Lived with Dignity: The Jewish Proletariat of Amsterdam, 1900 1940 and editor (with Nanci Adler, Mary Chamberlain, and Leyla Neyzi) of Memories of Mass Repression: Narrating Life Stories in the Aftermath of Atrocity.Kay Richardson is a retired editor with 30 years of experience in international scholarly publishing. During her 13 years of residence in the Netherlands, she gained fluency in Dutch and developed an abiding interest in Dutch history and culture."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book is accessible to a broad audience. It gives a detailed account of the Bosnian genocide from the victims' perspective, helping raise awareness about the nature of such multi-ethnic regional conflicts. I am proud to have translated it.
The voices and perspectives of the Women of Srebrenica are an important dimension to re-humanization in post-conflict transition. A refreshing break from the typical paradigm of Western scholar/journalist giving voice to the "other" and interpreting their experiences through homogenizing Western stereotypes, this book allows the women to be individual and human, and to speak in their own voices. Still, this is not just a book of testimonies. Leydesdorff does offer critical analysis and interpretation of broader themes, but she tries to do so in turns, so that the women speak in chunks, and then Leydesdorff offers perspective.
It is also relevant to add that this book was written by a Dutch woman, and being that the Dutch UN forces have some culpability for allowing Srebrenica's massacre to take place, her perspective is particularly important. There is an element of cultural reckoning here... an undertone of being driven to come to terms with the past that means that a reader is not only hearing the voices of the women (in a unique and interesting variety), but also is getting (in subtext) a window into Dutch cultural guilt to some extent.
My only critique is that Leydesdorff does not seem to be a Balkan expert, and as such she is sometimes unwittingly drawn into regional biases and at other times displays inherent Western biases on the Bosnian War and Srebrenica. Further, because of what I perceive as a lack of regional expertise, there are some slight inaccuracies with regard to history and politics. Still, Leydesdorff is careful to allow the women to speak for themselves, and has gone to great lengths to include a wide range of voices that push the narrative beyond oversimplified victim/perpetrator stereotypes.