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Customer Review

on 30 May 2000
There are few books that will hold me rivetted from beginning to end. There are even fewer that will do this for my wife. But 'Trusted Mole' has held us both spellbound. This is Milos Stankovic's extraordinary story of the insanity of the Bosnian war, and his own entanglement in that insanity. The madness that faced this British Army officer - a Brit of Serbian and Celtic grandparentage - followed Stankovic home to the UK and... well, you had better read his story to find out. If it weren't true I would dismiss it all as Walter Mitty tosh, or at best as a conspiracy theory dreamt up by someone deeply warped by the paranoia of Bosnia mind games. The story begins with Stankovic's arrest in October 1997 by the British MOD police, the start of a sorry sage that even now is not over. Accused - but never charged- with giving information to the Serbs, Stankovic used the following 2.5 years to explore in book form the background to his expulsion from the British Joint Services Command and Staff College and the collapse of what promised to be a glittering military career. The product - Trusted Mole- is an answer to his accusers. Let's hope they have the wherewithal to understand it. Profoundly honest, Stankovic's tale is one of great power which informs simultaneously on moral, physical and political planes. Like Conrad's Kurtz, Stankovic went on a journey to man's heart of darkness and was recoiled by the horror of his discovery: unlike Kurtz, however, Stankovic retained the balance of his mind and comes back from his journey a better-and stronger - man. Politically, the book reveals in fascinating detail just how decisions were made during the Balkan war - by all sides - and how preconceived ignorance dominated Western particularly American) approaches to the conflict. Indeed it appears that it was the Americans, long the bed-fellows of the Bosnian Muslims, who arranged for Stankovic to be arrested in the first place. In the black and white, good guy versus bad guy myopia of the American strategic perspective, the Muslims were the cowboys and the Serbs were the Indians. The story does not appear to be over with the final page, however. More of this story needs to be told. Why was he arrested? It certainly can't have been worth a ruined career, the public opprobrium (a la Tomlinson and Shayler)of being accused of betraying national security, and the apparent overturning of the right- in the UK at least -to be considered innocent until proven guilty. An absorbing story, a rivetting read and another installment in the offing, I hope. Shed a tear or two in the reading of it for Stankovic: few books will let you do this unashamedly.
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