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Kosovo: War and Revenge Hardcover – April 10, 2000

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press (April 10, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300083130
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300083132
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,929,270 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews Review

Tim Judah lived in Belgrade from 1990 to 1995, reporting for the London Times and the New York Review of Books; and when the "ethnic cleansing" started in Kosovo, he was there. So his Kosovo: War and Revenge is well placed to offer some insights, variously scathing and compassionate, on the whole, sorry mess. It doesn't matter how many Serbian tanks you (allegedly) knock out with your high-tech bombing raids, "since the most potent weapon in ethnic cleansing is the cigarette lighter needed to set houses on fire." And Judah can evoke the madness of Kosovo in a single, startling set piece: vengeful Albanians rampaging through a Serbian Orthodox priest's house, smashing icons, stealing candles; French soldiers from KFOR "looking on amiably"; a nearby Gypsy house also on fire; and a passing French commander explaining to an open-mouthed Judah that the official NATO policy at this moment is "to let them pillage." Paraphrasing a Belgrade journalist, he notes sadly that Serbia has still not found its Adenauer, nor Kosovo its Mandela, which is what both so desperately need. The introductory chapter, summarizing Kosovo's tortured and tortuous history, is better rendered in Noel Malcolm's Kosovo: A Short History, and for a wider overview of the Balkans themselves, one would certainly prefer Misha Glenny's The Balkans: Nationalism, War, and the Great Powers 1809-1999. For an acerbic and perceptive personal account, however, Judah's book is hard to beat. --Christopher Hart,

From Publishers Weekly

The war in Kosovo, Judah points out in his latest account of Balkan politics, didn't begin in 1999. A journalist covering the region for an array of Western publications (the Times of London, the New York Review of Books) throughout the 1990s, Judah (The Serbs) could see that Kosovo was on the brink of explosion--but until something tangible did erupt, his editors wouldn't print anything about it. In 1999, gruesome violence did erupt, culminating in NATO's 78-day bombing campaign. Now, having reported that conflict from the ground, Judah takes a step back to explore its roots in the events of the early 1980s and 1990s. Although not as strong as Noel Malcolm's 1998 book Kosovo: A Short History, Judah's work is an excellent addition to the literature about the Balkans. Drawing on both his firsthand experiences in the region and on secondary literature--and interspersing narrative history with journalistic accounts of warfare and fleeing refugees--he reflects on the longstanding local political struggles and the West's miscalculations. Along the way, he critically profiles Milosevic, NATO leaders (who thought this little war would last only a few days) and the Kosovo Liberation Army (whose own violent revenge began to sweep over Kosovo after the bombing ended). Well researched and melancholy, the book suggests that the bombing campaign was "a war of human error," in which "all the actors, in Serbia and in the West, just made mistake after mistake." This is an excellent introduction to the latest phase of Balkan warfare. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

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Tim Judah has done it again!
James Ron
In the conflict Judah captures the spirit of revenge on the part of the Serbs as well as the retaliation of the Kosovar Albanians once the bombing stopped.
Dr. C. G. Mazzucelli
He has more information about the history of Balkan bloodshed in the 20th century.
heather tyler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 20 people found the following review helpful By P. Bjel on June 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
When fighting in Kosovo began breaking out and hitting news tabloids in mid-1998, the problem was that few people knew about this region's history, let alone its location on the globe. No one could quite understand the motives of Serbs and Albanians, who were at odds with each other. When NATO began bombing rump Yugoslavia for its conduct against Kosovo Albanian civilians, uncritical (and heavily biased) media reports and press coverage were the only source of information that one could turn to for background. While this may have been better than nothing, this information was far from providing a critical and satisfactory explanation and understanding. This was the case, until Tim Judah wrote his second book, the current one now under review.
Judah is a Balkan expert, who speaks numerous languages (including Serbo-Croatian and Albanian) and has written several articles for many newspapers and magazines throughout the world. His previous book ("The Serbs: History, Myth and the Destruction of Yugoslavia" [New Haven, 1997 and 2000]) put the Bosnian war into its proper context, while the current puts Kosovo into its respective context. The first chapter is a short, condensed history of Kosovo leading up to the end of the Second World War, while the next sizable portion of the book details key events and personalities throughout the 1980s and 1990s that shaped modern-day Kosovo and unwittingly turned it toward a war-path.
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42 of 53 people found the following review helpful By James Ron on January 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Tim Judah has done it again! A regular correspondent for British and US newspapers in the Balkans, Judah has long provided Western readers with the very best in analytical reporting. He also wrote an excellent, insightful and compelling book on Serbia and the Bosnian Serbs, which was the best of the entire genre of Bosnia-war books.
Judah has now accomplished a second superb piece of analysis and reporting in record time. Working differently than most reporters and academics, Judah uncovers vital but difficult-to-obtain facts that go a long way towards illuminating some crucial puzzles. Where did the KLA come from? Why did it emerge when it did? What were its relations with other Kosovar political actors, including the former Kosovar leader, Ibrahim Rugova? Judah does a superb job of describing intra-Kosovar politics, exploring the trajectories of the different political factions during and after communism.
The most riveting accounts, however, are those dealing with the Rambouillet negotiations, whose failure led to the NATO war. Judah's blow-by-blow description of the tense struggles within the Kosovar delegation and the KLA are spellbinding. Not only is this unrivalled reporting and analysis, but this is great narrative writing.
Judah is perhaps weakest in his discussion of the expulsion itself following the NATO air war. Was the forced displacement already happening when the allied warplanes began their operations, as the Clinton administration argues? Or was the expulsion policy created by the air war itself? If so, was NATO's intervention a mistake? What might have Western actors done differently? Judah seems reluctant to speak out on these issues. He may lack the necessary information and if so, I applaud his caution.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By heather tyler on June 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
No matter how much graphic TV footage we saw and how many acres of newsprint we read on the Kosovo crisis, nothing gave us enough information about what was really going on. As with any war situation, information was often unavoidably contradictory and confused, tainted with propaganda. Politicians and historians and revisionists will probably mull over the recent events in Kosovo for years before presenting their views.
In the meantime we have war correspondents cranking up the pace with instant records. While the accounts of war journalists lack the historical perspective that can only occur over time, their freshness and immediacy can be electrifying and there is still opportunity for analysis.
Tim Judah's book is a fine example of what can be achieved. This is not a hasty account. Judah presents a surprisingly fair overview of the Kosovo crisis, which he has rigorously researched with exhaustive notes.
Judah fleshes out the major players from the 12th century to the 20th. He traces Kosovo's troubled history back to the Field of the Blackbirds in 1389 when the Serbian Prince Lazar and the Ottoman Sultan Murad faced off becaused Lazar refused to submit to Ottoman rule. Lazar and Murad died, the Serbs lost the battle. Orthodox Christians and Muslims co-existed uneasily for over 600 years, but Judah's details for much of that time are sketchy. Anyway, we get the picture: that's a long time to hone a grudge and perfect the most savage methods of revenge. He has more information about the history of Balkan bloodshed in the 20th century.
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