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Diary of an Uncivil War: The Violent Aftermath of the Kosovo Conflict Paperback – February 22, 2002
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About the Author
Scott Taylor, a former soldier, is the editor and publisher of Esprit de Corps, an Ottawa-based magazine celebrated for its unflinching scrutiny of the Canadian military. Research for this book was compiled first-hand from inside Yugoslavia and Macedonia following NATO's occupation of Kosovo. Taylor appears regularly in the Canadian media as a military analyst, and is the recipient of the 1996 Quill Award for outstanding work in the field of Canadian communications. That same year, he won the Alexander MacKenzie Award for journalistic excellence. A columnist for the Halifax Herald and the host of "Situation Report", Scott Taylor is also the author of "Tarnished Brass", "Tested Mettle" and "Inat: Images of Serbia and the Kosovo Conflict".
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Top customer reviews
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Taylor clearly shows the difficult Macedonian position: After receiving almost 400,000 Kosovo Refugees, sanctions against its major trading partner - Serbia/Montenegro (FR Yugoslavia at that time), and massive international pressure to not act against the terrorists, the nation's politicians were struggling to make the right move. The situation was further complicated when American forces were airlifting weapons and survival supplies to Albanian positions in the mountains above Macedonian cities and towns, while at the same time urging the Macedonian side to remain peaceful.
The first-hand account of the events in Western Macedonia come as a great lesson for the future, because at the end of the war there was an Ohrid Agreement signed, where the Macedonian politicians agreed to adopt certain laws that give the Albanian minority privileged rights over other minorities. Today, 10 years after the conflict, the Albanian minority is still unsatisfied even though their demands had been met.
The future is unknown, but the maps of a Greater Albania or "Illirida" are still hung all over Albanian homes.
Military experience has given him the daring needed to get to the story and the analytical skills (usually cynicism) needed to find the actual activity. It also becomes invaluable in determining when the various parties are trying to sway you with fraudulent claims.
Sadly, the academic writing on the Macedonian crisis (still ongoing) suffers from excessive credibility of UCK (supposedly the NLA in Macedonia) claims. This book provides a good but insufficient corrective for it. This is a book on covering a story, not a detailed academic work but there is still considerable value to it.
Scott write objectively, and factually. His books are both interesting and very easy to read. I have no reason to doubt the accuracy and honesty of this author. He is clearly biased in his own personal opinions, being a strong supporter of Serbs, Macedonians, etc. and openly critical if not hostile towards the actions and objectives of the UCK (KLA).
Scott is somewhat uniquely placed to report on events from both sides, being trusted by the one side because of his earlier writings, and by the other because of his Canadian nationality, which automatically leads the UCK to presume that he supports their cause.
This book is largely concerned with the incursion of the UCK into Macedonia, and the conflict that ensued, and continues to this day. It documents in detail the complexity the Macedonian government faced in responding to acts of terrorism on their own soil, while seeking to avoid at all costs offending NATO for fear of suffering Serbia's fate. It documents the extensive support, weaponry, and military assistance given to the UCK by the US, and the degree to which this support and encouragement hampered the Macedonians government's ability to respond effectively to a terrorist insurrection/armed invasion from Kosovo.
For those interested in the Balkans, terrorism, politics, or the involvement of the US in the conflict in Macedonia, as well as for those merely wishing to get a more balanced overall picture of the complexity of the various conflicts in the Balkans this book is well worth reading.
And then there was Scott Taylor. Ever dropping in unannounced, deadpanning his way through security checkpoints, hotel lobbies, armed insurrectionists and officials who don't speak English, Taylor draws on his military background and fearlessness to get a good view of some of the most interesting places of the war- most of them otherwise unreported.
...Diary of an Uncivil War is thus not only a good read- brisk, straight-up and comic in places- but also a real contribution to the primary source material on the Macedonian War, and as such it will become only more valuable with the passage of time for historians interested in researching the events of 2001. For those interested in the subject of Islamic terrorism in the Balkans, Taylor also provides an extremely detailed epilogue of sorts, chronicling terrorist presences in Macedonia, Bosnia, Kosovo and Albania.
The remainder of this review, as well as interviews with the author, Scott Taylor can be found here: [...]