From Library Journal
The war crimes trial of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, which began in February, makes this political biography especially timely. Sell is a retired Foreign Service officer who spent two tours of duty (a total of eight years) in Yugoslavia, first in the final years of the Tito presidency and again in the late 1980s, just before the country began to fragment. Here he concentrates on the 14-year period (1987-2001) when Milosevic held high office in Yugoslavia, ending with his arrest and transfer to The Hague. Milosevic is depicted as rising to power without bothering about those he harmed on the way up and, once in power, as gradually losing his grip on reality and spiraling down into a world of delusion. Without dwelling on the horror of the war crimes, the author holds his subject responsible for much of the destruction of his country. Although some of these details have already been covered in Lenard J. Cohen's Serpent in the Bosom and Slavoljub Djuklic and Alex Dubinsky's Milosevic and Markovic, this book is valuable for its background on the current trial and coverage of recent history of a troubled region. Recommended for most libraries. Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
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“It will be decades until someone can begin to write a history of the Balkans conflicts of the last decade of the twentieth century. Until then, few accounts will be more valuable than Louis Sell’s first-hand account of the twelve years of Slobodan Milosevic from his conversion to nationalism in Kosovo to his transfer to the International Tribunal in The Hague. As very few others, Sell has been on the different scenes of the conflicts, met the different actors, seen the drama from different perspectives, and been able to put the pieces together. He has written a highly readable and most interesting book.”—Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Sweden and High Representative for Bosnian Peace Implementation
“Louis Sell brings to his fascinating study of the Serbian tyrant a deep experience in the Balkans, an authority based on his own participation in some of the events he describes, and a keen analytical eye. This is a first-rate book.”—Warren Zimmermann, United States Ambassador to Yugoslavia, 1989–1992
“Louis Sell systematically maps the rise and fall of Slobodan Milosevic in the first comprehensive biography of the man seen as most responsible for the violent disintegration of former Yugoslavia. Armed with years of experience as a diplomat and analyst of the Balkans, Sell has written a scholarly and compelling account about Slobodan Milosevic. It is an important work that merits attention from anyone who wants to understand the nature of Slobodan Milosevic’s disastrous rule.”—Laura Silber, author of The Death of Yugoslavia