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ENDGAME by David Rohde

ENDGAME

The Betrayal and Fall of Srebrenica: Europe's Worst Massacre Since World War II

By David Rohde

Pub Date: May 6th, 1997
ISBN: 0-374-25342-0
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

 Returning to the subject that has already earned him a Pulitzer Prize, journalist Rohde brings keen analysis and powerful convictions to the harrowing story of Srebrenica's fall and its victims. For almost two years, Rohde has been intimately involved in trying to uncover the truth about Srebrenica's missing Muslims, many of whom (at least 5,000 men and boys) are believed to have perished in mass executions conducted by Bosnian Serbs. After locating mass graves and credible survivors, the journalist was briefly taken prisoner by Bosnian Serbs. Endgame offers a day-to-day account of events leading up to the enclave's fall on July 16, 1995. Rohde manages his material with the hand of a novelist, describing settings and atmosphere, developing characters, highlighting the horror of events. Among the various individuals we meet are Muslim civilians (men and women), two Dutch UN peacekeepers, a Bosnian Serb policeman, and a number of soldiers. Readers feel the acute humiliation and frustration of Dutch peacekeepers who are ordered to surrender to advancing Bosnian Serbs, the arrogance of Bosnian Serb general Ratko Mladic, and the fury and callousness of the executioners. Rohde carefully lays out his analysis and conclusions about the two central mysteries of Srebrenica's capture. First he raises the question of the massacre itself. Convinced that it happened, Rohde specifies the nature of its significance: the largest massacre in Europe since WW II, ``the intensity of its bloodletting,'' and ``the international community's role in the tragedy.'' Finally, Rohde gives a useful account of the many explanations of why Srebrenica fell, including the varied conspiracy theories about secret deals involving every conceivable party, from the authorities in Sarajevo to the Bosnian Serbs to UN officials. While the evidence is not conclusive, the atmosphere of connivance (and Western inaction) comes through clearly. A passionate account, and an important addition to the growing library of books about the Bosnian catastrophe.