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Worlds Apart: Bosnian Lessons for Global Security Hardcover – September 2, 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books; First Edition edition (September 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822349752
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822349754
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,069,452 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


“Part apology, part cri de coer, [Hunt’s] book culminates in a catalog of specific lessons applicable to much more than the Bosnian experience. she advises potential intervenors to ‘test truisms’ and to locate allies and partners within the local community rather than rely on outsiders who reside in the Pentagon or in sanctuaries protected by sandbags and concrete barriers.” - Foreign Affairs

“[T]he book is an absorbing read. . . . [G]eneral readers, students and activists will find much of value in a book that is more accessible than most academic works on the conflict. Academics and regional experts may not find much new material, but there are enough details and conversations with senior politicians to warrant reading it purely for the insight it offers into diplomatic and political life of the 1990s. . . .” - Jelena Obradovic-Wochnik, Times Higher Education Supplement

“Ambassador Hunt has long championed a greater and more substantive role for women in political and civil life and this book is rich with illustrations why that cause is both worthy today and should have been employed much earlier in the Balkan unraveling that led to the wars over Bosnia and Kosovo. . . . Whether the reader may agree with Swanee Hunt’s opinions on Bosnia or not, one can come away from this book with some useful lessons to apply to areas of conflict generally.” - William P. Kiehl, American Diplomacy

Worlds Apart reminds the reader how difficult and yet imperative is individual and collective action in the face of moral collapse. . . . . It took over a decade for Swanee Hunt to distill and to write the experiences from Bosnia. That history and its lessons remain eerily relevant today.”

- Joanne Leedom-Ackerman, Christian Science Monitor

“Ambassador Hunt has given us a bold, firsthand, outspoken book. It comes as close as we’ve gotten to answering the wherefores of Bosnia’s stark violence. Her juxtaposition of inside realities and outside misconceptions is convincing support for the broader lessons she offers us.”—General John Galvin, former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, and former Dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University

“Good research. Brilliant analysis. Important book. These lessons about global security are especially urgent in light of today’s headlines.”—Dan Rather, internationally acclaimed veteran newscaster

“Swanee Hunt has written an intelligent, insightful, and highly readable account of the Bosnia conflict and America’s response to it. She brings to her analysis the passion appropriate to a firsthand account, together with a critical and sophisticated appreciation for the larger political context. Those interested in lessons important to future policy will not be disappointed. The book is an important addition to the literature on Bosnia, and on the continuing debate over appropriate circumstances for military intervention for humanitarian purposes.”—Ambassador Robert Gallucci, former Dean, Georgetown School of Foreign Service

“The slaughter in Bosnia in the 1990s still haunts policymakers everywhere. With Worlds Apart, Swanee Hunt brings us all into the room alongside the decision makers at the center of an international crisis, and she simultaneously draws important lessons from those events for the resolution of future conflicts. It’s a compelling read for anyone motivated to learn those larger lessons from a tragedy that tested the will of the free world.”—Senator John Kerry, Chair, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

About the Author

Swanee Hunt chairs the Washington-based Institute for Inclusive Security. During her tenure as US ambassador to Austria (1993–97), she hosted negotiations and symposia focused on securing the peace in the neighboring Balkan states. She is a member of the US Council on Foreign Relations, the Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, and the president of Hunt Alternatives Fund. She has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR, and she has written for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, the International Herald Tribune, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, the Boston Globe, and the Huffington Post, among other publications. She is the author of Half-Life of a Zealot and This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace, both also published by Duke University Press.

More About the Author

Swanee Hunt is Eleanor Roosevelt Lecturer in Public Policy, founder of the Women and Public Policy Program, core faculty at the Center for Public Leadership, and senior advisor to the working group on modern-day slavery at the Carr Center for Human Rights, all at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

An expert on domestic policy and foreign affairs, Hunt is president of Hunt Alternatives Fund, a private foundation working to support leaders of social movements, combat the demand for purchased sex, achieve political parity for women in high-level positions (in the US and globally), strengthen youth arts organizations, and increase philanthropy. She also chairs the Washington-based Institute for Inclusive Security (including the Women Waging Peace Network), which conducts research, training, and advocacy to integrate women into peace processes.

Her seminal work in this area began when, as the US Ambassador to Austria from 1993 to 1997, she hosted negotiations and international symposia focused on stabilizing the neighboring Balkan states and encouraging women leaders throughout Eastern Europe. Building on her extensive work with US non-governmental organizations, she became a specialist in the role of women in post-communist Europe.

Raised in a corporate family in Dallas, Texas, Hunt made her mark as a civic leader and philanthropist in her adopted city of Denver, where for two decades she led community efforts on issues such as public education, affordable housing, homelessness, women's empowerment, and mental health services for two mayors and the governor of Colorado.

Hunt is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; she has authored articles for Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy Magazine, International Herald Tribune, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, Dallas Morning News, Huffington Post, et al. Her first book, This Was Not Our War: Bosnian Women Reclaiming the Peace, won the 2005 PEN/New England Award for non-fiction. Her memoir, Half-Life of a Zealot, was published in 2006. Her third book with Duke University Press, Worlds Aparts: Bosnian Lessons for Global Security, was released in September 2011. She is currently writing Rwandan Women Rising.

Hunt has had more than a dozen one-woman shows of her photographs in five countries. Her musical composition, "The Witness Cantata," for five soloists and chorus, has had nine performances in six cities. Hunt holds two masters degrees, a doctorate in theology, and three honorary degrees. She was married for 25 years to Charles Ansbacher, international conductor and founder of the Boston Landmarks Orchestra, who passed away in 2010. Her world includes their three children, and a menagerie of cat, parrot, horses, bison, and grandchildren.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 9 customer reviews
Bottom line: This is a great book that covers some important lessons!
Meg @ A Bookish Affair
Nonetheless, these are important views from someone who has had a very close and personal experience with a major war, and they should be taken seriously.
Dr. Bojan Tunguz
I think most readers will find Ambassador Hunt's newest offering to be a very engrossing experience.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Bojan Tunguz HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 23, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The war in Bosnia and Herzegovina was one of the most devastating wars in recent history. With over hundred thousand civilian deaths and close to two million displaced persons, it was by far the most destructive war in Europe since the World War II and the bloodiest of all the wars that resulted in the breakup of Yugoslavia.

Swanee Hunt was the US ambassador to Austria during much of the Bosnian war and for a couple of years following it. Due to its proximity and historical ties Austria was very close (politically and to a lesser extent culturally) to Bosnia, and it has been crucially instrumental in helping the Bosnian refugees. Ambassador Hunt tried to use her position and influence to help those same refugees, and she also attempted to influence the US policy in the region. Her experiences with the humanitarian efforts and her interaction with the US and Western diplomats and policy-makers form the basis for this book.

The book is divided into numerous chapters that alternate between the "inside" and "outside" stories. The "inside" stories deal with refugees, war victims, and others who experience the brutality of the conflict firsthand. The "outside" chapters on the other hand focus on the high-level diplomatic and political activities that aimed to bring a resolution to the war. Ambassador Hunt is a keen observer of personal experiences of those who had to deal with the horrors of this war. She humanizes them and gives them a voice that they so desperately need and deserve. She is also largely critical of the international diplomatic efforts, and at times lashes in no uncertain terms at those she deems to have obstructed the necessary policies.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Meg @ A Bookish Affair on September 29, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition
There are many times that I feel like I need to go back and just audit a late 20th century history class. I lived through things like Bosnia and Kosovo but being born in the mid-80s, I was very young. The Bosnian War is something that I had never really learned that much about. This book sort of ties the history of the Bosnian War with some crucial things to keep in mind with regard to how we engaged with other countries and conflicts around the world.

Hunt labels each chapter as either "Inside" or "Outside." The "Inside" chapters talk about what was actually going with the people, environment, and politics in Bosnia. The "Outside" chapters talk about things going on outside of Bosnia such as some of the thoughts occurring outside of the country, particularly among the American government, wondering whether or not they should act or get NATO involved.

This book is anything but dry. It's sort of a behind the scenes look at why what happened happened and also why we (the Americans) and the rest of the world acted in the way that we did. I think Hunt did a great job at making this event and the facets of international relations that could be found within accessible to everyone.

Bottom line: This is a great book that covers some important lessons!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By lit-in-the-last-frontier on September 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Quick Version:

Swanee Hunt, former U.S. Ambassador to Austria, was a participant in the international effort to assist in the resolution of the Bosnian Conflict. She gives sketches of the war and discusses what lessons can be learned from this and other conflicts.

Long Version:

Author Swanee Hunt takes an interesting approach in this look at the war in Bosnia. Rather than writing a straight narrative account of its history from start to finish, she has chosen to present a series of vignettes, alternating between "Insider" and "Outsider" perspectives. Initially, I found the book's structure a bit unsettling, especially since the first events do not seem to move in chronological order. Let me point out, however, that my copy is a galley, and therefore might be rearranged in the editing process prior to final publication. After the first few stories, this problem resolved itself and many pieces actually seemed to set up the next. I loved the formatting once I had settled in to the flow of the book. No, this book is not an exhaustive recitation of the conflict from start to finish, but Ms. Hunt offers so much more.

While she does not attempt to write the whole history of the war, she does begin the book with an excellent section entitled "Context", in which she gives a brief glimpse of enough history of the area to help her reader understand the causes of the conflict and then a very brief outline of the war itself. This section is also used to lay the groundwork for a major premise of the book-that the conflict in Bosnia was not a religious war.

In employing her alternating sections format, Ms. Hunt is able to bring in a large number of voices.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Roberta Baskin on February 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Ambassador Swanee Hunt's unforgettable book, "Worlds Apart: Bosnian Lessons for Global Security" is a riveting account of diplomatic failure. Hunt is a compassionate writer who recounts stories of ordinary people in extraordinary detail. Her profoundly moving photos taken during her diplomatic years in the region help illuminate her reportage. Hunt reveals her deep frustration as opportunities to intervene in the Serbian atrocities are squandered while the dysfunctional international community engaged in little more than public hand-wringing as attempted genocide, mass rapes, torture, emptying of Bosnian villages, and finally bombardments of cities takes place with no intervention. It finally took America and NATO using force to stop the killing. But the same misconceptions, stereotypes and narrow approach that delayed action before the war made for an imperfect peace afterwards.

Throughout the conflict and beyond, most diplomats involved, unlike Ambassador Hunt, had virtually no contact with ordinary citizens. The peace process included those who waged war, and ignored those who waged peace: Bosnian women. They were rarely included among the "experts" who hammered out the Dayton accords after the war. Women were treated as victims, Hunt writes, instead of the tough survivors, leaders and witnesses they are. Hunt points out Yugoslavian women had the highest percentage of Ph.Ds of any European country, but were missing in designing the country's future. In the run up to the war, women were absent among the dozens of lawyers experts, and political leaders plotting the country's destiny.

Ambassador Hunt's reflections are woven through dozens of stories which argue for the necessity of "inclusive security" in the peace process. This insightful book should be a blueprint for the diplomatic community and must-reading for a more peaceful world.
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