Bosnia: A Short History
Macmillan, 1994 - 340 pages
The years 1992 and 1993 will be remembered as the time in which a unique country was destroyed. It was a land with a political and cultural history unlike any other in Europe, a land where great powers and religions converged, overlapped, and combined: the empires of Rome, Charlemagne, the Ottomans, and the Austro-Hungarians; the faiths of Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Judaism, and Islam. Today, this rich past has become obscured by violence and war, shrouded in a bloody fog of ignorance and misinformation. In this first-ever full history of Bosnia, Balkan specialist Noel Malcolm provides an account of the country from its beginnings to its tragic end. A triumph of narrative clarity, Bosnia: A Short History outlines and dispels the various myths of racial, religious, and political history which have so clouded the modern understanding of Bosnia's past. In particular, the book explodes the claim that the war in Bosnia was the inevitable consequence of "ancient ethnic hatreds." It illustrates that the cause of Bosnia's destruction came from outside Bosnia itself: first through the political strategy of the Serbian leadership, and then from the fatal miscomprehension and interference of Western politicians. Malcolm lays to rest once and for all the historical fallacies that have dominated not only the media coverage of the war but, more shockingly, the words and actions of Western diplomats and nations. The lasting importance of this book is not only that it puts the Bosnian war into its true perspective, but that it celebrates the complex history of a country whose past - and future - has been all but erased.