- Hardcover: 370 pages
- Publisher: St Martins Pr; 1st U.S. ed edition (September 1, 1994)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0312113781
- ISBN-13: 978-0312113780
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 9 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #379,957 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Seasons in Hell: Understanding Bosnia's War Hardcover – September 1, 1994
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From Publishers Weekly
Vulliamy, a British journalist with keen powers of observation and nerves of steel, describes what he saw during his 1992-1993 coverage of the war in Bosnia. Much of his compelling narrative consists of scenes in which drunken thugs and uniformed lynch mobs perpetrate outrages and atrocities against civilians, including the systematic rape of women. The testimony he collected for his chapter on rape in the war zone encompasses, as he puts it, "every conceivable dark cranny of sexual sadism and male violence." Vulliamy denounces the UN and the European Community for failing to come to the aid of Bosnia's stillborn democracy, especially its Muslim population, and for denying them the means to defend themselves. His coverage of the fighting in the former Yugoslavia earned him Grenada Television's Foreign Correspondent of the Year award in 1992. Photos.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
As this review is being written, the morning Internet brings news of fresh Serbian "ethnic cleansing." The shock is not diminished, and Vulliamy's excellent work of firsthand reportage of the Serb and Croat war against the Muslims provides both context and understanding of the carnage, not least in the words of victims and participants. Most chilling are the words of a Serbian "intellectual" that Sarajevo was theater to divert world attention from what was happening elsewhere. More complete than Roy Gutman's excellent A Witness to Genocide (LJ 10/1/93), Vulliamy's account of the Bosnian war and the betrayal by the diplomats of "Western civilization" is so vivid that reading it produces moral and physical pain. This account of human and cultural genocide is essential reading for all but the morally indifferent.
H. Steck, SUNY at Cortland
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Vulliamy was one of a small cadre of Western jounalists who tried to make sense of the Bosnian catastrophe for the outside world. Others also went on to write fine books: Chuck Sudetic, Misha Glenny, and Tim Judah among them. While Vietnam evoked a kind of bored cynicism in the press, Bosnia seems to have evoked deep and passionate engagement.
Vulliamy first became renowned when he exposed the Serbs' infamous Omarska concentration camp near Banja Luka, and promulgated the memorable photo of the frail Muslim prisoner with the bony arms and protruding ribs that was one of the first incitements of western interest in the war. Although the narrative is mostly limited to Vulliamy's own experience, that experience was broad, taking him to many of the key sites at key times--Vinkovci in Eastern Croatia, where the Serb-Croation war began; Bijelijna in Northeastern Bosnia, where the Serb-Bosnian war began; Prozor in Herzegovinia, where the Croat--Muslim war began; Sarajevo trying to hang on during the seige; Tuzla in East-Central Bosnia, which remained in Bosnian Army control throughout, and where waves of refugees from the ethnic cleansing in the East retreated; and Travnik in Central Bosnia, "the crossroads of the war". Metaphors from prior wars pervade the depictions of refugees and destruction: "Beirut" and "the Ho Chi Minh Trail."
Like others steeped in the place, Vulliamy notes that Bosnia before the war was ethnically mixed ("ethnically" is a misnomer; in Bosnia it means "religiously"). Today, each region is largely "cleansed". Banja Luka was always mainly Orthodox and Sarajevo mainly Muslim, but only by slim majorities. Today, each is more "pure", if that is an acceptable word for it (statistically, Sarajevo is "mixed" only because the Srpska Republic touches the city limits). The terror and forced-resettlement that occasioned this are the central themes of the book. Vulliamy recounts with stop-frame drama the sudden turnound of the Croats from allies of the Bosnians to enemies, overnight in the town of Prozor.
The book was published in 1994, before the Srebrenica massacre, before the NATO bombing, and before the Dayton Accords. Little is lost by that timing. There are lots of appraisals of that miserable war. This book puts you there.