Kosovo: A Short History

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9780060977757: Kosovo: A Short History

"Malcolm's narrative is gripping, even brilliant at times. . . . He takes to his task with the vigor of a detective driven by true passion. At times his claims are, in terms of Balkan history,quite revolutionary."

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Kosovo, a 55-mile-long plateau in southern Serbia bordering Albania and Macedonia, should by all rights be a historical and political backwater. A Bulgarian geographer who visited Kosovo during World War I remarked that it was "almost as unknown and inaccessible as a stretch of land in Central Africa." The observation would prove ironically fitting by the '90s, as Central Africa and Kosovo both became sites of widespread genocide, fueled by ethnic hatreds, of the deepest international significance. Noel Malcolm, a British historian and journalist who has written extensively about the Balkans (including a companion volume of sorts on Bosnia), provides an overview of Kosovo's long-standing cultural divisions in his "short history" (although, at more than 500 pages, a not so short book).

Readers following the unfolding war in Kosovo through newspaper and television coverage may well ask why ethnic Albanians and Serbs are struggling so violently to command the small region. Kosovo, Malcolm explains, is the birthplace of Serbian nationalism; the defeat of Serbian forces there in 1389 by Turkish troops became emblematic of the fall of the Serbian empire, as it led to Turkish domination of the Balkans. Contemporary warriors of Serbia are, in Malcolm's eyes, evidently attempting to reverse the course of history by reclaiming the land from its Turkish conquerors--but in the absence of the Turks, they'll take it from the Albanians (the largest ethnic group among Kosovo's inhabitants) whose ancestors converted to Islam when the Turks ruled the region. Malcolm's lucid text shows again and again that the ethnic conflict in Kosovo is less a battle over bloodlines and religion than it is one over differing conceptions of national origins and history. "When ordinary Serbs learn to think more rationally and humanely about Kosovo, and more critically about some of their national myths," he concludes, "all the people of Kosovo and Serbia will benefit--not least the Serbs themselves." --Gregory McNamee

About the Author:

NOEL MALCOLM, author of the widely acclaimed Bosnia: A Short History (also available from NYU Press), has been described by The New York Times as "President Clinton's favorite Balkans expert."

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Book Description HARPER PERENNIAL, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 203 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this first-ever complete history of Kosovo, Noel Malcolm carefully sifts facts from fiction and lays to rest many of the false claims which have bedevilled all discussion of the region. His account is based on a profound knowledge of both the original sources and the existing historical literature in every Balkan language.The story of Kosovo includes the key episodes of two national histories: the rise of the medieval Serbian state, and the making of modern Albania. This book also brings to life the story of Ottoman rule in Europe. It presents not only a crucial part of the background to the modern Yugoslav crisis, but also a vital element in the whole pattern of south-east European history. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060977757

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Book Description HARPER PERENNIAL, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 203 x 135 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. In this first-ever complete history of Kosovo, Noel Malcolm carefully sifts facts from fiction and lays to rest many of the false claims which have bedevilled all discussion of the region. His account is based on a profound knowledge of both the original sources and the existing historical literature in every Balkan language.The story of Kosovo includes the key episodes of two national histories: the rise of the medieval Serbian state, and the making of modern Albania. This book also brings to life the story of Ottoman rule in Europe. It presents not only a crucial part of the background to the modern Yugoslav crisis, but also a vital element in the whole pattern of south-east European history. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780060977757

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