Books by Roger Cohen

Roger Cohen is the Berlin bureau chief of The New York Times. He was its Balkan bureau chief from 1994 to 1995 and reported from Bosnia throughout the war there. Twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, Cohen has won several awards, including two from the Ov

Released: Jan. 13, 2015

"With limpid prose, Cohen delivers a searching and profoundly moving memoir."
In an effort to understand the modern Jewish experience, distinguished New York Times columnist Cohen (Soldiers and Slaves: American POWs Trapped by the Nazis' Final Gamble, 2005, etc.) examines his family history of displacement, despair and resilience. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 1, 2008

"True" in a broad sense at least, this profile of the distinctly Indiana Jones-like Roy Chapman Andrews sticks to the historical record in describing his monumental expeditions into remotest China and Mongolia. It is, however, well-stocked with invented details and dialogue—much of the latter not exactly lifelike: "The fossils are out there, Roy. Now it's time for you to go and find them." Cohen's narrative unfolds along similarly heavy lines ("To get through the difficult experiences that surely lay ahead, Roy would have to rely on the lucky star that had shone down on him ever since he was a boy"). Moreover, it jumps confusingly back and forth in time, and the stingy selection of small photos hardly does justice to either Andrews's adventures or the importance of his scientific discoveries. Young readers will be more effectively wowed by Ann Bausum's more accurate, coherent and far better illustrated Dragon Bones and Dinosaur Eggs (2000). (Fictionalized biography. 11-13) Read full book review >
Released: April 27, 2005

"Cohen's superb history restores them to memory."
The Nazi death camps were populated by "Jews and so-called troublemakers"—and at the very end of WWII, writes Cohen (Hearts Grown Brutal, 1998), by Americans who fit the description. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 1, 1998

With the Bosnian war several years behind us, there has been a spate of books by journalists and diplomats. Hearts Grown Brutal stands out among them. For the general reader seeking insightful, eloquent journalism as well as the historical background necessary for understanding Yugoslavia, Cohen's book is essential reading. Cohen's is an ambitious approachh, but the vast and complex canvas he paints more accurately reflects the tangled reality of Yugoslavia's history than a more narrowly focused account might. Because Cohen, who was the New York Times's Balkan bureau chief in 1994—95, also saw in his Bosnian experience the —whole lurid cast of the 20th century tragedy," his book is infused with reflections on Yugoslavia's destruction and the end of our century. This theme is taken up in Book 1 (—The Lost Century—), the tragic story of Sead Mehmedovic's search for his father, a Muslim who served in the Croatian fascist regime and was presumed dead, but had secretly emigrated to Turkey. This haunting tale of loss and betrayal serves as a fitting prelude to the remainder of the book, which more directly deals with the everyday struggle of families during the Bosnian War. Cohen follows three extended families, all of mixed ethnic background, during their break©up and destruction. Like Yugoslavia, they can never be whole again. Through them he contemplates the issue at the heart of the conflict: the nationalist leaders' fatal insistence on immaculate ethnic borders and identities in a region where "the very notion of ethnic homogeneity had been nullified by centuries of miscegenation, migration, and religious conversion." In a tone simultaneously melancholy and scathing, Cohen describes the evil and absurdity of leaders like Milosevic ("a craven, clever bully"), Tudjman (with his "macabre dance"), Karadzic, and the nationalist venom they incited. The West—the US and the UN in particular—Cohen accuses of moral cowardice and abetting the Bosnian tragedy. A piercing study of the facts and myths that led to the destruction of multiethnic Yugoslav communities. Read full book review >