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Kosovo: A Short History Paperback – June 10, 1999
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Readers following the unfolding war in Kosovo through newspaper and television coverage may well ask why ethnic Albanians and Serbs are struggling so violently to command the small region. Kosovo, Malcolm explains, is the birthplace of Serbian nationalism; the defeat of Serbian forces there in 1389 by Turkish troops became emblematic of the fall of the Serbian empire, as it led to Turkish domination of the Balkans. Contemporary warriors of Serbia are, in Malcolm's eyes, evidently attempting to reverse the course of history by reclaiming the land from its Turkish conquerors--but in the absence of the Turks, they'll take it from the Albanians (the largest ethnic group among Kosovo's inhabitants) whose ancestors converted to Islam when the Turks ruled the region. Malcolm's lucid text shows again and again that the ethnic conflict in Kosovo is less a battle over bloodlines and religion than it is one over differing conceptions of national origins and history. "When ordinary Serbs learn to think more rationally and humanely about Kosovo, and more critically about some of their national myths," he concludes, "all the people of Kosovo and Serbia will benefit--not least the Serbs themselves." --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
As there is so much to say about his book, this will be a thorough review.
First of all, Malcolm has clearly gone out of his way to write the most extensive book on Kosovo's history of any Western historian. I disagree with the notion that he simply wrote this book to earn some money because the time, help and resources he would have required travelling around Europe to various national libraries, looking through archives from hundreds of years back, asking people for their opinions etc must have been at great financial, as well psychological, cost to himself.
Saying that however, one can see that he visited the Zagreb national library and the library in Tirana but did not visit any libraries in Belgrade, probably the largest city in south-eastern Europe and in this case for Malcolm's research, a vital institution of knowledge.
I reject the excuse that he did not have the time or that the sources in Belgrade's library would have been highly biased in regards to his research because the same could be argued about the sources in Zagreb and Tirana.
Another criticism that I would make is that all of the people that he acknowledges at the beginning of his book are non-Serbs, either Croats, Albanians, Bosnians or Westerners which raises questions about his objectivity.
Now, to the book.Read more ›
"Kosovo: a short history" is remarkable in its clear, readable prose. This is not a dull text. And the region and its history should have been better known to the West. Right through the book, well-known historical figures make cameo appearances. My favourite was a fellow who in 1912 or 1913 was " shocked by the evidence he encountered of atrocities by Serbian and Bulgarian forces." The fellow would later become better known as Leon Trotsky. But the book is full of these oddities. It isn't surpising. Look at a map and Kosovo was an overland route to the Middle East - and a bulwark of the Ottoman Empire against Western and Central Europe: Christian Europe. I should have known all this much earlier, but - like most western educated historians - I didn't pay enough attention.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I could see why the information in this book would bother some people from the Balkans, because it debunks a ton of myths and lies about Kosovo. But it is not a pro-Albanian book. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Frank White
A well written book on the subject. I learned more than I imagined. I will look for more books by the author.Published 4 months ago by Jackie McLaren
Just don't understand how intellectual elite gets away with this nonces of book! So racist and so poor with facts and true ! No wonder-Noel Malcom blue blood... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sladan Stamenkovic
In a nutshell: If you know very little about Kosovo (as was the case with me), you will get a very good introduction to its history starting from the Middle Ages and up to WWI or... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Bryan Byrd
A book of great importance for those who wish to understand the young country of Kosova. Have read the book as soon as I found it on the bookstore shelf and very often refer to it... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Flamur Vehapi, Author
It was good as far as it went, and for historic background but I need something that covered the region after 1999.Published 15 months ago by Robert W. Becker
Probably the most fair and independent research ever done on this little corner of the Balkans.
It should be mandatory reading on all history school books of the Balkan... Read more