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Blue Helmets and Black Markets: The Business of Survival in the Siege of Sarajevo Hardcover – August 7, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0801443558 ISBN-10: 0801443555 Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Cornell University Press; 1st edition (August 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801443555
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801443558
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,077 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"In this provocative study, Andreas examines the unexpected consequences of humanitarian intervention. . . . Drawing on extensive interviews, diaries, and memoirs of participants, and newspaper accounts, among other sources, Andreas argues that the internationalization of the siege paradoxically prolonged the conflict. Humanitarian assistance the international community provided to the people of Sarajevo became incorporated into the criminalized war economy that flourished in the besieged city. . . . The study also reveals the much more complex social dynamics that emerged and flourished during the conflict. In particular, far from severing ties between ethnic groups, the war economy sustained informal contacts and cross-ethnic collaboration in the midst of conflict. Andreas argues that the example of Sarajevo strongly suggests that uncovering the hidden dynamics of war economies is important because their legacies outlast a conflict's end and continue to shape postconflict reconstruction. Highly recommended."—A. Paczynska, Choice, September 2009

"This bold and provocative book is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the dilemma of humanitarian assistance in war. Peter Andreas describes a flawed international humanitarian relief effort that helped perpetuate the longest siege in modern history, in a manner that enriched criminals and war profiteers. Only by understanding why and how such things could happen can we hope to prevent them from happening again."—Richard Holbrooke

"Blue Helmets and Black Markets is absolutely fascinating. It is a focused, balanced, original, well-researched bottom-up perspective on what really happened during the siege of Sarajevo. Sanctimonious and widely accepted clichés are overturned on nearly every page."—John Mueller, Ohio State University

"In this pioneering book, Peter Andreas tells the true underlying story of the four-year siege of Sarajevo. Peopled by war profiteers, smugglers, gangsters, common criminals, greedy nationalist politicians, and most surprisingly the endemically corrupt international peacekeeping forces, his account captures the seamy underbelly of the Sarajevo siege, all without losing sight of the suffering of the city's innocent victims. He argues convincingly that the feeble peacekeeping mission helped prolong the siege and in many ways added to the misery of the encircled city's inhabitants. This work will disabuse every reader of the notion that resurgent urban warfare in our time is only about ethnic conflict."—Robert J. Donia, author of Sarajevo: A Biography

"Blue Helmets and Black Markets shows that trade, illicit or not, plays a fundamental role in contemporary wars. Daytime heroes become nighttime villains. UN officials, aid workers, journalists, Mafioso thugs, petty bureaucrats, war criminals, and shopkeepers all take advantage of their positions in the interest of greed as well as good. The brilliance of this book is that it does not attempt to draw a bright line distinction between the two. Peter Andreas has written a book where nuggets of insight are as casually dropped as mortar shells on the streets of wartime Sarajevo."—John Fawcett, former director of the International Rescue Committee Sarajevo/Bosnia office

"We know that some profit from war and that some of these profits help finance war, but Peter Andreas pulls back the curtain to reveal how the political economy in complex emergencies is sustained by the very international actors who are charged with trying to limit the suffering. A fascinating and depressing story well told."—Michael Barnett, University of Minnesota

"Blue Helmets and Black Markets is a must-read for those who wonder whether international intervention and humanitarian aid have a future. It offers the most informative analysis of the unintended consequences of humanitarian aid, arms embargoes, and military intervention. Peter Andreas dissects international intervention in the siege of Sarajevo and lays out in plain sight the inner workings of its political economy. This is a masterful book that ranks as a major contribution to the study of civil wars and sets the standard for the study of armed humanitarian intervention."—William Reno, Northwestern University

From the Back Cover

"Andreas does not deny the suffering or the heroism of those caught in the three-and-half-year siege of Sarajevo, or the deadly earnestness of those who maintained it. But he wants to make this savage tale whole by exposing corruption's part in exploiting and sustaining the violence. For all the understandable attention focused on intrastate war since the end of the Cold War, its political economy has been one of its least-explored aspects. Andreas, with prose as lean as his analysis is rich, corrects this by demonstrating how thoroughly all become implicated, including the "good guys" -- the nongovernmental organizations, UN peacekeepers, even the news correspondents." --Foreign Affairs

"This bold and provocative book is essential reading for anyone who is interested in the dilemma of humanitarian assistance in war. Peter Andreas describes a flawed international humanitarian relief effort that helped perpetuate the longest siege in modern history, in a manner that enriched criminals and war profiteers. Only by understanding why and how such things could happen can we hope to prevent them from happening again."--Richard Holbrooke

"Blue Helmets and Black Markets is absolutely fascinating. It is a focused, balanced, original, well-researched bottom-up perspective on what really happened during the siege of Sarajevo. Sanctimonious and widely accepted clichés are overturned on nearly every page."--John Mueller, Ohio State University

"In this pioneering book, Peter Andreas tells the true underlying story of the four-year siege of Sarajevo. Peopled by war profiteers, smugglers, gangsters, common criminals, greedy nationalist politicians, and most surprisingly the endemically corrupt international peacekeeping forces, his account captures the seamy underbelly of the Sarajevo siege, all without losing sight of the suffering of the city's innocent victims. He argues convincingly that the feeble peacekeeping mission helped prolong the siege and in many ways added to the misery of the encircled city's inhabitants. This work will disabuse every reader of the notion that resurgent urban warfare in our time is only about ethnic conflict."--Robert J. Donia, author of Sarajevo: A Biography

"Blue Helmets and Black Markets shows that trade, illicit or not, plays a fundamental role in contemporary wars. Daytime heroes become nighttime villains. UN officials, aid workers, journalists, Mafioso thugs, petty bureaucrats, war criminals, and shopkeepers all take advantage of their positions in the interest of greed as well as good. The brilliance of this book is that it does not attempt to draw a bright line distinction between the two. Peter Andreas has written a book where nuggets of insight are as casually dropped as mortar shells on the streets of wartime Sarajevo."--John Fawcett, former director of the International Rescue Committee Sarajevo/Bosnia office

"We know that some profit from war and that some of these profits help finance war, but Peter Andreas pulls back the curtain to reveal how the political economy in complex emergencies is sustained by the very international actors who are charged with trying to limit the suffering. A fascinating and depressing story well told."--Michael Barnett, University of Minnesota

"Blue Helmets and Black Markets is a must-read for those who wonder whether international intervention and humanitarian aid have a future. It offers the most informative analysis of the unintended consequences of humanitarian aid, arms embargoes, and military intervention. Peter Andreas dissects international intervention in the siege of Sarajevo and lays out in plain sight the inner workings of its political economy. This is a masterful book that ranks as a major contribution to the study of civil wars and sets the standard for the study of armed humanitarian intervention."--William Reno, Northwestern University

"Blue Helmets and Black Markets is a sophisticated analysis of how politics, economics, and opportunity shape contemporary conflict. It should be read not only as a striking account of the siege of Sarajevo but also as a contribution to the evolving literature on the use of violence in a global age."--Deborah Avant, University of California, Irvine

"Blue Helmets and Black Markets is fantastic. It is well written, topical, thoroughly researched, and very clever. Peter Andreas makes an entirely original, and very illuminating, argument about the unanticipated and unacknowledged effects of international humanitarian intervention."--James Ron, Carleton University


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3 of 7 people found the following review helpful By James Mueller on September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Peter Andreas makes several interesting claims in this book. First, the fact that profiteering from black market smuggling across the siege border perpetuated the siege, making the siege of Sarajevo the longest in modern history. Also, he comments how the UN control of the Sarajevo Airport and the subsequent airlift lead to a "legitimization" of the Bosnian Serbs' siege in the eyes of the international community. Along with that idea he talks of how the Sarajevo siege was able to grab international attention as opposed to other conflicts given that Sarajevo offered easy access for journalists and foreign dignitaries.

The reason for the low rating of this book is that Peter Andreas spends the whole first chapter outlining how great his book is compared to all other accounts of the siege. He treats his readers as if they are idiots and can't tell that there might have been forces acting behind the scenes during the siege besides what was written about in official reports. The reader leaves this book with a sense of the siege of Sarajevo and of Andreas' huge ego at being able to write about the "untold story" of Sarajevo.

Ultimately, this book is good for a reader looking for a textbook-like account of the siege of Sarajevo if they don't mind trudging through all of Peter Andreas' self-admiration.
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