Over the past two years, the entire world watched in horror as one of Europe's most stable countries plunged into an orgy of violence and bloodshed that has invoked comparisons to the Holocaust. Aside from empty threats and diplomatic hand wringing, the West has done little to stop the ethnic cleansing, the sieges, and the brutality that has characterized the conflict in the former Yugoslavia. Contrary to common wisdom, the hyper-violent disintegration of the former Yugoslavia is not simply and exclusively the product of inherent and irrational ethnic animosities and centuries of strife. In this engaging book, journalist Christopher Bennett traces the turning point to the 1987 struggle within the Serbian Communist party which was between adherents of a Serb nationalist ideology -embodied by Slobodan Milosevic- and the other Yugoslavs who clung to the vision of a multinational state. As soon as Milosevic gained the upper hand, he ruthlessly purged his rivals and launched a massive campaign of media indoctrination to stir up Serb nationalism. This new nationalism, which has repelled the world since 1991, is primarily Milosevic's creation and not merely the result of historical enmity. As a student at two different Yugoslav universities in the 1980's, Bennett witnessed firsthand many if the critical events which contributed to Yugoslavia's destruction. He renders an incisive and accessible history, covering the period from Tito's dictatorship to the present day.
"A dispassionate, intelligent introduction to the civil war that has destroyed the former Yugoslavia. . . Bennett has the good fortune to speak both Slovenian and Serbo-Croatian, a skill that has enabled him to draw heavily on literature of the region that would be unavailable to most American or British journalists.”-Kirkus Reviews
"This informative study describes how the Serbs . . . disarmed Slovenian and Croatian forces in May 1990, leaving the territories they had protected virtually defenseless. . . Bennett calls `unpardonable' the refusal of the international community to protect innocent victims of the Serbian rampage in Bosnia-Herzegovina."-Publisher's Weekly
"An absolutely excellent must-read study . . . . It overflows with fresh insight and clarity on each page."-Library Journal