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My War Gone By, I Miss It So Paperback – February 1, 2001

4.4 out of 5 stars 103 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

My War Gone By, I Miss It So is a fiercely compelling and beautifully written personal account of the Bosnian war. The book alternates between Anthony Loyd's experiences in Bosnia and personal reflections of his time in the British army, his parents' divorce, his estrangement from his father, and his heroin addiction. Loyd describes the war at eye level: detailing the way bodies look after they've been shot or blown up, looking through the sights of a Muslim gun trained on a Serb soldier, traveling with a French mercenary, and fleeing from advancing Serbs during battle. The book is filled with firefights and mutilated corpses and is not for the squeamish. Bosnia was "a playground where the worst and most fantastic excesses of the human mind were acted out." For Loyd, the high of battle substituted for the high of heroin and vice versa: "I had come to Bosnia partially as an adventure. But after a while I got into the infinite death trip. I was not unhappy. Quite the opposite. I was delighted with most of what the war had offered me: chicks, kicks, cash and chaos; teenage punk dreams turned real and wreathed in gunsmoke."

Loyd's big break as a war correspondent came when another British journalist was wounded. He had arrived in Bosnia a war junkie, just trying to figure out what was going on and sell a few pictures to newspapers on the side. "Journalism in itself had never really interested me, I saw it only as a passport to war." He did not cover the war like most other journalists--he went right into battles. Loyd dismisses what other journalists did in Bosnia: staying at the Holiday Inn in Sarajevo, driving out to the UN headquarters in an armored car, and then returning to the relative safety of their hotel "to file their heartfelt vitriol with scarcely a hair out of place." Loyd, who did everything but carry a gun against the Serbs, scoffs at the idea of journalistic objectivity. "What good did reporting ever do in Bosnia anyway?" he sneers. In fact, he seems almost embarrassed not to be fighting himself. "I felt I was a pornographer, a voyeur come to watch." Lucky for the rest of us he did go to Bosnia. --Linda Killian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

"It was not necessarily that I had 'found myself' during the war, but the conflict had certainly put a kind of buffer zone between the fault lines in my head." Writing with a combat veteran's dark knowledge and a seasoned war correspondent's edgy, hesitant desire to cling to some sort of confidence in humanity, Loyd delivers a searing firsthand account of the war in Bosnia that successfully blends autobiographical confession and war reportage. Loyd, a veteran of the Persian Gulf War (where he was a platoon commander), was deep into suicidal depression and heavy drinking when, at 26, he left London for war-torn Bosnia in 1993 (he got assignments for British newspapers and is now a Times of London correspondent). After returning to England in 1995 by way of Chechnya, he sank into heroin addiction before pulling himself together and returning to cover the Balkan carnage through 1996. He admits to a grim fascination with war as the ultimate frontier of human experience. Just when a reader begins to feel that Loyd is too cynical and detached, a scorchingly lyrical passage will illuminate the Balkan war in all its anarchic horror. While Loyd finds plenty of guilt all around, he is highly sympathetic to the Bosnian Muslims, approves of NATO's bombing of the Serbs and chastises U.N. troops for standing idly by while thousands of Muslims were slaughtered in Srebrenica, a designated U.N. "safe area." On the autobiographical front, he attributes his immersion in war to his hostile relationship with his intimidating father, and to his family's complex web of national and ethnic origins (Austrian, English, Belgian, Egyptian, Jewish). Not like any other book on the Yugoslav war, his gripping, viscerally subjective chronicle puts a human face on the tragedy as it mourns the strangled soul of multiethnic Bosnia. (Jan.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (February 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140298541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140298543
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.8 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #867,182 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I'll get right to the point. I served in Croatia during the same time period of the first half of the book (1993). I watched whole villages be ethnically cleansed while being prevented from entering the area by the perpertrators tanks. I stared down the barrels of automatic weapons while trying to establish a buffer zone between the beligerents. I walked through areas where the only thing alive was myself and the other guys in my section. I slept 10 feet from the 3 day old corpse of an old woman. I came home to a country where the majority of the people I encountered didn't know, didn't care, and didn't want to believe me. I still have nightmares, and this book has brought them back with a vengence. This book is real.
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Format: Hardcover
I was deployed to B-H for seven months and spent most of that time with the local Serb and Muslim people. I wish I had read this book prior to deploying. It filled in the emotional and nationalistic intensity that my intelligence officer was unable to convey. This book is fantastic - after reading it and being there, I feel I truly understand what happened. I recommend it to anyone who wants to learn about the war, or about nationalism gone awry.
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By A Customer on January 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. It reminds me of the Vietnam era classics "A Rumor of War" and "Dispatches." The vivid accounts of the Bosnian Wars shames me as it should any citizen of a NATO country. How such horrific acts were allowed to occur within a few minutes planes ride from the most powerful military alliance in history is totally unforgivable. I don't believe the US should be the world's policeman, and in truth at the time I opposed sending American troops to Bosnia. But after such a vivid account of the horror, betrayal, and sheer hopelessness of the lives of those in the former Yugoslavia during the early 90's shames me more than I can say. All this was allowed by western cowardice. It seems our experience in Vietnam has yet to claim it's last victims.
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Format: Hardcover
This is probably the best written book documenting a war that I have read, not because of research or completeness in the story, but the writing itself was just that good. The book is the personal account written by a bored young man that decides that maybe being a war photographer will bring some excitement to his life. This said he goes off to the Bosnian war during the early to mid 1990's. The author does not skip any of the brutality that made up this war, he talks about the war crimes committed, the death and destruction that takes place in normal combat, firefights and getting shelled, and the toll all of this takes on him and his peers.
The author makes a point that he was not just another war correspondent, but an ex soldier that was more of a war junkie or thrill seeker then journalist. He also describes how he did not cover the war like most other journalists; he went right into the battles with troops from either side. He does not think much of the company journalists that only ventured out of their hotel rooms to get the latest update from the UN headquarters. He also states that for himself it was impossible to remain objective with some much pain and evil going on around him.
The real power of the book comes from the author's ability to describe the incredible amount of human cruelty and suffering in the Bosnian war. He really makes you understand what war crimes and ethnic cleansing are all about, not just words but people that have the worst other humans can think up perpetrated against them. The book does not detail out why the war was taking place nor the world politics that were going on at the time, but that is not its focus. It is a very good account of the war through his eyes and if you are interested in the war at all, this should be one of the books you read.
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Format: Paperback
Like the author's journey, the reader's descent into this book mirrors the voyeuristic trip taken by Loyd into the heart of war. We feel a little uneasy, but like Loyd, we are driven to know the heart of this evil. At times it is hard to feel empathy for Loyd when he ponders a fix after having witnessed the slaughter of families. However, this is the paradox that makes for a riveting read. It is his experience - not ours. This honesty is the only aid we have in understanding the chaos of Bosnia (then later Chechnya) and becomes a welcome and necessary companion. You may understand the players a little better, but you will not understand the reasons for the war any better after having read this book. Like so much we have seen and read about this conflict, the book reveals the disturbing truth from the trenches. And the view is not pretty.
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Format: Hardcover
Upon first picking up Anthony Loyd's "My War Gone By" and seeing the blurbs on the jacket, I was impressed with the comparisons to Herr's "Dispatches." Upon reading the book though, it seems more similar to another book about the Vietnam war, Tim O'Brien's novel "Going After C," albeit in a nearly antithetical fashion. O'Brien writes about a fighter who walks, in a dream, from his meaningless jungle war to civilized Paris. Loyd writes about a dreamer who walks into a fight and from London into a war that ten years ago was a suprise to most of us. And Loyd writes about that war with direct, vibrant, unflinching prose, tying in his own descent into addiction as an allegory for the loss of such a beautiful landscape and people on the European continent into the darkness and insanity of a pointless war. Also, the feeling of a "war tourist," which Loyd refers to frequently are on point. In 1992, I stayed with a friend of Zagreb, Croatia, at a time when the "front" was about fifty kilometers from the capital city. Although I never actually went to the front, largely because my friend told me it was usually "boring," I always harbored the guilt that my visit was simpily an attempt to vicariously experience their war, as we drank in the cafes and partied in the clubs and homes of young Croatians, amoung those some who had simply walked away from the fighting. At that time, I heard many of the Croats complaining of atrocities by the Serbs similar to those Loyd describes committed against the Muslims. And they wanted to know why the UN and Americans (I seemed to be the only one around at that time) had not intervened.Read more ›
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