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on October 23, 2000
Peter Maass was a Washington Post correspondent in Bosnia 1992-93 and this is his riveting, emotive account of the war. Maass echoes many of us when he unashamedly asks the most difficult questions: Why did 250,000 Bosians lose their lives, why can't Muslims and Christians work their differences out after so long, why did genocide occur in Europe when at the end of WW II the world declared it would never happen again, why was the UN impotent once it got into Bosnia, why is the thin skin of civility easily torn and the brutality that lies beneath so easily provoked? Maass was not a cynical, hotel room hero that gives journalism a bad name, those hacks more interested in boasting in the bar and filing stories from second-hand accounts provided by local help-meets. He did his job well and came away shell-shocked, angry and fundamentally changed by what he saw: UN troops standing by while atrocities took place, how residents of Sarajevo nightly ran the gauntlet of the airport, surgeons operating without drugs, children dying on the daily water run, snipers on opposing sides chatting to one another on a two-way radio, the flourishing drug trade, people cheating, lying, killing and stealing to keep their loved ones alive. Maass speculates a little too much - some judicious editing wouldn't have gone astray - and he cannot adequately analyse the causes of the war and the outcomes for the victims involved but this was not his job anyway. He was there as a recorder of events that became a black mark in history and that he did, admirably. Maass, like veteran journalist Simon Winchester who succinctly wrote of the later crisis in Kosovo and asked similar questions, gave ordinary victims of this war a voice. While such journalistic accounts lack historical perspective because their focus is on the immediacy, their evidence is invaluable. We need such accounts, so when the spectre of genocide is raised again we can hold up books like these and say: "Haven't we learned anything yet?"
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on October 15, 2011
As someone who lived there in 1992-1993, I can tell you that this book is the only completely truthful version of what happened in Bosnia. As horrible as the war in Bosnia sounds in this book, it was even worse. Mr. Maass diluted it a bit.
He did a great job explaining the Balkan history. I know it's a bit challenging for an outsider to grasp the Balkans and its complicity, but Mr. Maass understood it completely. I feel so grateful to him first of all for going there in the first place and for taking the time to get to know the Bosnian people. He saw the truth and that's all that matters. Thank you Mr. Maass from the bottom of my heart. I survived the genocide done by the Serbs and I can tell you, it's not something you forget easily. I was lucky to survive, however, not too many of us survived and are brave enough to talk about what happened. You did it for us by writing this book. You told the world about us. Thank you!
I would definitely recommend this book be used in schools to educate our children of what really happened because, as a survivor of something so horrible, I find it very hurtful to hear some of the versions of the genocide taught in our schools. My own children are learning that the Serbs were the victims here and the unfairness of it is killing me. The world would be a much better and safer place if everyone would just say the truth.
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on March 19, 2003
Mr. Maass writes an excellent book.
simply excellent.
He documents his time in the insane asylum that we called Bosnia in the early 90's. His writing is exceptional and the stories he tells are heartbreaking. Great books are either average writers who witness extrodinary events or extrodinary writers who witness average events. Maass is an extrodinary writer in an extrodinary situation.
This is the best book I have ever read of the Bosnian fiasco. As a former UN Peacekeeper it brought back old shivers and memories. Like anything people can read a bias or a slant into things, but Maass has truly captured the whole debacle in one book. The blame side of it Maass points the fingers at those inside the country who helped destablize it, the various diaspora who essentially bankrolled it, the politicians who encouraged it, the non-Yugoslav politicians who just ignored it and hoped it went away.
An awesome read, not a boring blow by blow historical analysis but a look at the people caught in the worst atrocities in Europe in 50 years
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on January 9, 2003
I would recommend this book to anyone interested in the modern Balkans, particularly the Serb aggression that began with the rise of Milosevic in the late 80's.
Love They Neighbor is a telling of Serbia's horrific war against Bosnia and Bosnia's Muslim population as seen firsthand by Mass while he was there. Maass begins this book with a journalistic attempt to remain impartial and simply tell what he sees, however, it soon becomes clear to him that the Serbs are the aggressors and the horror the Serbs are perpetrating against their Balkan brothers and sisters is something not seen since Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot. This book is not an impartial accounting of what was going on; it is an accounting of the atrocities that were perpetrated by the Serbs and tolerated by the West.
In my opinion, the best part of the book was Maass's detailing of how first the Bush administration and then the Clinton administration failed to take relatively easy measures to end the aggression. Maass also details how the U.N., instead of helping protect those being slaughtered actually implemented policies that helped the Serbs carry out their terror and ethnic cleansing. Maass tells the truth in this book, but the fact is telling the truth, in this case, can not leave one impartial.
Maass also explains thing that our cookie cutter modern new services do not explain; like how the Muslim's the Serbs were persecuting were not any more religiously extremist that your average American. One interesting moment Maass notes is when Clinton is dedicating the Holocaust museum, stating that the museum is a reminder that we can't let this happen again, while his administration, NATO, and the U.N. were actively letting it happen again.
I would recommend this book to anyone seeking to learn about recent events in the Balkans. While not an academic work, it is well-written and lends much insight into the failure of the West in quickly ending what would have been easily stoppable had they made the effort. I would also recommend this book to readers of Robert Young Pelton. If you take out the political commentary, one could easily see Pelton writing similar things about many of the situations that Maass experienced.
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VINE VOICEon July 28, 2006
I have a confession to make - I am guilty of ignorance.

While in 1992 I was taking my first trip to Europe, falling in love for the first time, getting my introduction to Pentecostalism and learning to live, people were being exterminated only several hundred miles away from me.
While I was going into my fourth year of high school education in Bulgaria, boys and girls my age were being raped and tortured and murdered and it took me 15 years to find that out. How is it that I knew nothing about that war? How is it I never paid attention to the news, never took interest in what was happing in Bosnia? How? How come I turned a blind eye to the grizzly events occurring in a land where people spoke Slavic language similar to my own, had features similar to mine, shared history similar to the one of my county? How can I have been so ignorant of the genocide in Bosnia?

Then, in the winter of 1992 I came to the United States and looking back now I find I wasn't the only one guilty of ignorance. For three years (1992-1995) United Nations, countries like Britain, France, Russia and of course, the USA, looked to resolved the conflict by ignoring the direct problem in the region. Peaceful solution is what everyone was talking about and looking for, and all the while men, women, and children died by torture, by fire, by knives to their throats. Over 200,000 people. 200,000 died in this conflict and having read Peter Maass' book I feel disgusted with myself, with humanity in general.

I suspect there were hundreds of other conflicts that occurred and I missed. I know there were many more that history sheltered away from humanity and perhaps I'll never learn about their victims, but having read this book and having learned of the dangerous games politicians and people with power played, I'm left with a nauseating feeling of shame. Shame for being a human and for possessing the realization that evil is something people grow inside, something they cultivate and feed of. For all of our 100,000 years of civilization we have nothing to show except death, destruction and deceit. Is this what we should be proud of? Is this the meaning of life?

I recommend this book to everyone. It's hard to find stories out there that are so open, so raw, so real in their context that make readers seriously wonder what society, civilization, morality and ethics really mean. Mr. Maass, thank you for being so honest.

-by Simon Cleveland
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on January 3, 2015
This is an extremely well written book. The author is one of those people who has a truly extraordinary talent in painting a picture with words. This topic is a very complicated one and can be hard to really comprehend all the nuances of but Mr. Maas really takes you right to the hearts of the matter.
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on November 22, 2013
This was one of the most absolutely heartbreaking review I have ever read in my life. There were many times I had to set the book down and walk away from it to get my mind off of what I was reading. I have been studying the Balkans for a very long time. During the height of the war, I was a young girl living in a border village of Hungary and remember hearing about what was happening in hushed tones. Since then, it has been a conflict it has been one of my primary studies.

I recommend anybody who is actively or passively studying the Balkans, or the subsequent conflicts during the 1990s, to purchase this book.
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on October 14, 2011
I must say that I'm very happy that I discovered this book. He fully develops the critical themes about the Bosnian war.Whether you agree with the author's feelings or not, you can easily see that he is as objective as possible although he cannot avoid telling it as it is when it comes to war crimes and crimes against civilians.The book narration is powerful and detailed where it needs to be. I ended up reading it twice.
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on November 7, 2014
Great read and interesting! Do you want to know what it was like living in Bosnia during the Bosnian War? This read will show you how a war can destroy a country and people into a nightmarish hell and depending on what ethnic group you belonged to depended how bad you got it.
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on April 13, 2003
Peter Maass presents a chilling story about the horrors of the War in Yugoslavia and his terrifying moments as a journalist covering another episode of man's inhumanity to man, ethnic cleansing, murder, war. This book haunted my sleep and changed my life. After reading Maass' book, I was driven to visit Sarajevo, Karlowac, Srjebenica. My life will never be the same. As Americans, we repeatedly, through history, have looked the other way while genocide destroys cultures. Peter Maass brings the nightmare of ethnic cleansing to the reader in ways that creep through the comforts of your life. READ IT, you will never stand by quietly again!
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