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on 14 July 1999
Several reviewers have labeled Holbrooke either racist or merely biased. I am an American, not of Serb descent, but a serious student of Serb life and history. I speak Serbian, lived in Serbia, visited all the key Serb historic/cultural sites, including a thorough survey of medieval Serb monasteries. I have visited all corners of the former Yugoslavia including four visits to Kosovo. I say all this not to be arrogant as some reviewers accuse Mr. Holbrooke; rather to give some credentials of a person who well understands Balkan mindsets and who is not anti-Serb (I love Serbia and most Serb people!). As such, I consider Mr. Holbrooke's views and accounts very balanced, fair, and ethical. My suspicion is that the flames of reviewers own passions and biases enter here in large measure. This is a fascinating book written by an admirable civil servant. His inside accounts of dealings with Milosevic, Tudjmann, Izetbegovic and others are simply marvelous. I personally knew Nikola Koljevic, the suicide victim ex-Bosnian Serb VP and former chairman of the English Dept at the Univ. of Sarajevo and found Holbrooke's harsh treatment of Koljevic very believable. This is a balanced book for balanced people; unfortunately there are many Balkan natives with axes to grind who are not easily pleased.
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on 25 June 1999
In his book , "To End a War" Richard Holbrooke does an adequate job of giving insight as to the negotiations on the war in Bosnia. It helps to see the view of one who has spoken with and haggled with all major parties who settled the Bosnian "peace plan". Mr Holbrooke posessess a gret amount of confidence in his ideas and somerimes it is to the point of where he gives the impression of being pompus. An underlying theme that of course never fully brought to light by Mr. Holbrooke is the idea that the Americans are omnicent, a senior cabinet member or even the President spoke to the three parties, why to hear him tell it their mere prescence would solve all problems. However Mr. Holbrooke should have known and he was soon reminded that though the muslims, serbs and croats might be impressed with the prescence of Bill Clinton or one of his cabinent members that does not neccesarily mean that they are willing to comply. To think that some senior U.S. official can change the nature of ideas in the Balkans is ignorant conciet that can be classified as underestimating the opponent. However Holbrooke does do a good job of telling everything in his book, of being honest, some of the facts in the book where not very flattering no matter how god of a spin that he put on it. It almost seems from reading "To End a War" that peace will reign in Bosnia because Richard Holbrooke and the Americans - as well as their allies - will it and they will have it even if it requires being forceful and undiplomatic. To take issue with one final point in the book I must comment on Mr. Holbrooke anger at the Bosnian Serbs unwillingness to sign the Dayton Peace Accords. He said himself that he told Slobodan Milosevic that he would not negtiate at Dayton with the Bosnian Serbs at Dayton, they must accept the affer that was accepted by Milosevic, then he had the gall to wonder why Dayton was almost ruined by the peturbed Bosnian Serbs. Eventually they were coerced by Milosevic to accept the peace deal but Mr Holbrooke need not question why peace is so difficult to achieve in the Balkans. Mr. Holbrooke lets the reader gain the impression that he and Milosevic are good friends and he can work a deal with "Slobo" at just about any time but as people who keep up with current events know Milosevic can convince people left and right that he is making a deal with them but he can always work his way out of it. Aside from my personal thought as to th econtent of the book I do believe that the book is well written in the fact that it alows the reader to see the possible weaknessess of the negotiation process whether it is the authors intent or not. I guess the way in which Mr. Holbrooke tells about both the good and the bad of the negotiation process so that the reader can decide for themselves if Dayton had a positive outcame is what makes the book worth reading, as well as the background infrmation.
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on 13 August 1998
I have just read Holbrook's insightful and interesting account of the Dayton peace accord. Though I must agree with some of the amazon reviews that his book is selfserving (he clearly hails the people who will be able to offer him the "State"). His portrayal of this troublesome peace accord is presented almost as a product of his "brilliant" and "intuitive" achievements that without his personal involvement wouldn't have taken place. Clearly there must be alternative sides to Holbrook's account of events. But with that in mind one must also admirer Holbrooke for his talent as a seductive storyteller of very high quality.
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on 30 June 1999
Initially, I thought that Mr. Holbrooke would be biased in his book against the Serbs as that seems to be the impression in the media and yet it was not the case. (I live in Greece where the media is quite strongly in favor of the Serbs due to the commonality of our religions.)
The book is filled with plenty of notes (as I am sure plenty of people will try and refute what he says) which leeds to creedence to his comments. He also mentions in the book a few people who wrote books that were "pro-Serb" which leads me to beleive the book was somewhat objective.
The book manages to set you up to understand one point of view towards what is going on in Kosovo now.
One more thing - it made me understand the hard work these politicians go through and for what? Probably not much glory nor salary. This seems to be true especially for American diplomats who do not have that much at stake in Bosnia as others do.
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on 22 October 1998
By his personal records Holbroke gives a very deep insight into this very sad ceapter of europes modern history. Even though the situation is seen from an american point of view the book gives an exelent overview of the many struggles diplomacy is facing when more than one party has to aggree on a single common standpoint. By using this log-book style Holbroke also gives a detailed insight in the tactics behind diplomatic negotiations. Tactics that easily can be used and deploid in more peacefull negotiations. For those like me that have missed or ignored the many religious and political issues that initiated the Balkan war the book certainly bring one up to date. To end a war is a must read for every european citizin with the interest in forign affairs. Happy reading
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on 21 May 2006
I have read quite a few books about the troubles in Bosnia and Kosovo. None can rival this one for the insight into the problems of getting the three sides of the confict to get together and do the right thing for their people.

I was amazed to discover the difficulties experienced by the writer in convincing the "last super power" to get involved in the problem.

A top read. Recommended to anyone wishing to know the real difficulties that stood in the way of peace.
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on 13 June 1998
An insightful look into the daily operations of major international negotiation. Holbrooke gives the reader the chance to see an intimate side of negotiation; he elaborates on personalities (his Milosevic anecdotes are particularily revealing), on the delicateness of the talks leading to Dayton, and his own personal struggles in attempting to find a solution agreeable to all sides. A definite must-read for anyone interested in a lasting peace in the Balkans.
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on 5 August 1998
Holbrooke's book is seemingly a reflection of his personality: it is frank and purports to be honest. It is utterly self-serving: almost everyone who will matter from now on in Holbrooke's glittering career gets a good word, even arch-foe Madeleine Albright. If this book is an extremely interesting albeit one-sided look at what happened at Dayton, it is also the first shot in the man's campaign to become Secretary of State in 2001.
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on 11 July 1999
This very detailed book describes how many critical decisions were made to end the Bosnian war. It tends to be facts from Holbrooke's perspective. His anecdotes illustrate the difficult personalities he was dealing with through their actions, rather than his opinions. However, it is one person's perspective and I think it would be interesting to read accounts of the negotiations by other participants.
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on 1 September 2015
Have a MA in SE European Studies, so much of the events in the book, and Holbrooke's role were already familiar. Worth reading though for the account of proceedings at Dayton - and some of the later chapters devoted to what came immediately before and after. For me it added some small but valuable bits of knowledge.
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