Sunday, 27 September 2009

The Collapse of Yugoslavia 1991-1999

An Osprey Essential History, but the thing is, it didn't seem as neutral as the others have been. Very, very critical of the UN and pretty much all UN personnel. I think it's probably too close to when it happened for them to be totally objective about it. And there was a lot about the political side of things too, which wasn't really what you expect from an Osprey book. It's supposed to be military history, not a bit of an excuse to rant about how useless the UN is. I admit, I do get the impression from this book (and from talking to my parents), that it was a horrible mess. And my history teacher has implied the same thing when we talked about it vaguely as one of the consequences of the Treaty of Versailles. I suppose I'm not really in the best position to judge as this is the only book I've read on the topic, and I can't remember any of the events described—I would've been seven in 1999, and at that age you don't particularly pay attention to what's going on in the world :D. Wow, that smiley looks weird in italics (I'm writing this in OpenOffice writer because my brother has stolen my internet, and I'm writing in italics so that I can distinguish it from the titles of books I've read over the summer). Anyway, like I was saying, I'm not in the best position to judge, but the book definitely comes across as biased. Maybe I need to wait a few more years for someone to come along and write a reevaluation of it, although they reckon that usually takes at least thirty-fifty years after the event. It seemed like it could be a very interesting piece of history, in part because of the political dimension to the violence, in part because it could later be assessed as the point at which the UN started to fail in its job like the League of Nations was assessed as failing in Manchuria and Abyssinia after the event. I'm writing a story at the moment which has a group of fanatics determined to start another world war so that afterwards there'll be an even better version of the League of Nations/UN which will wipe out all war forever like both were supposed to do initially, that's what made me wonder about that. I might have to use that...

On the other side of things, the Osprey book did do a pretty good job of distinguishing out the various different groups. At any rate, I didn't get completely and utterly lost as to which group was which. And like I said, it's too soon to expect a completely neutral appraisal of the Collapse of Yugoslavia. Not that history will ever be written as completely neutral (it would probably be really boring if it was just 'facts' ie dates—the interpretation's what makes it interesting, that and the individuals who make it up). So if, like me, you weren't old enough to have any idea what people are talking about when they say 'collapse of Yugoslavia', it might be worth reading this to get an idea of what they're talking about. On the other hand, it's not hugely detailed and maybe google would be a better bet.

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