- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Allen Lane (15 Oct. 2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0713994258
- ISBN-13: 978-0713994254
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 4.3 x 24.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 860,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Unfinest Hour: Britain and the Destruction of Bosnia Hardcover – 15 Oct 2001
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Unfinest Hour is a remarkable indictment of British policy in the former Yugoslavia when it was Bosnia that dominated the headlines. What happened in Bosnia towards the close of a world-war-splattered century seems small beer this side of the millennium divide and immediate risk of another global confrontation, but it wasn't and still isn't. The Serbian perpetrators of ethnic cleansing are still largely on the loose, and the lessons learned needed to be understood.
Brendon Simms, author of this revealing study, is Director of Studies in History at Peterhouse and lecturer in International Relations at the Centre for International Studies, Cambridge University. What he has to say is that, essentially, Britain's role in the Bosnian tragedy, was nothing short of being disastrous.
He has carried out dozens of interviews, trawled through the documents and come to the conclusion that Britain's political leaders were afflicted by a disabling form of conservative pessimism which not only rejected military intervention by Britain but prevented any other country intervening. Attitudes changed with the change of government by the time of Kosovo for, as the current, much wider crisis only too telling reminds us: isolationism is no longer an option. --Michael Hatfield.
"This is the best sort of polemical book: hard-hitting, well researched and stimulating, with a preference for analysis over sensation." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Hurd, Hogg, Rifkind, Major and Owen all find themselves targets in Professor Simms' justifiably angry polemic. Well written and clearly setting out the issues even for those readers who are not familiar with the disgraceful recent history in the Balkans, he reveals the shocking incompetence and serial misjudgements of those who were supposed to steer our foreign policy.
Despite incomprehension our leaders can hardly claim to have been ignorant of Serb intentions. Radovan Keradzic told Alija Izetbegovic, in public and in front of the TV cameras, that in the forthcoming conflict "You Muslims will be exterminated." For once in his life he wasn't lying.
As Professor Simms explains, we then invested millions of dollars in the provision of food and medicine but would do nothing to silence the guns that caused the need for such aid in the first place. As the book makes clear, the stark reality of the West's decision to confine itself to the provision of humanitarian aid is that we were prepared to feed people but stood aside and allowed them to be raped, shot and shelled. It was political cynicism at its worst.Read more ›
Unfinest Hour, however, still deserves its 5 stars because of its comprehensive coverage of the topic - there's no other book that deals with the topic so well. Despite it being heavy reading, it can still be a page-turner due to the disturbing revelations within it.
The book is well written, occasionally humorous, and the overwhelming majority (but not all) of the arguments it presents are coherent and well referenced. It certainly does have an agenda but this is in no way disguised. My only main complaint is the length of the chapters. At approximately fifty pages each, it is hard going to find a suitable place for a break, especially as some of the material is relatively mentally taxing. That said, the author presents what is a demanding subject in a style that maintains interest.
The material covered in this book is highly relevant to current events in Iraq, on which we all have an opinion. I found it very interesting to see that many of the voices who are today complaining about western imperialism, the immorality of military intervention etc were the same as those who lent their support to British foreign policy in the early 1990s, with appalling consequences.
Note: this is not a history of the break-up of Yugoslavia, which is covered with great skill in the excellent "Death of Yugoslavia" by Silber and Little.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a detailed (as others have suggested, in some places, perhaps a bit too detailed - of which more later) account of the British political and diplomatic machinations over... Read morePublished on 31 Dec. 2012 by Richard Carter
This is definitely a topic worth reading about. I found the book to be informative and I'm glad I read it. Read morePublished on 7 Nov. 2010 by Jupiter
In November 1993,according to Dr.Simms,the Bosnian government threatened to put Britain on trial in front of the International Court of Justice as accomplices to genocide. Read morePublished on 1 April 2008 by Franz Bieberkopf
Brendan Simms book describes the UK Government's views in the Bosnia war as ostensibly neutral, whilst in effect pro-Serb. Read morePublished on 6 Dec. 2001
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