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SEASONS IN HELL by Ed Vulliamy

SEASONS IN HELL

Understanding Bosnia's War

By Ed Vulliamy

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-11378-1
Publisher: Dunne/St. Martin's

 An angry, impassioned book from a journalist who has seen the Bosnian conflict at its worst. Vulliamy has been covering the war in the former Yugoslavia for the Guardian, winning several awards for his reportage, much of which has gone into this volume. After a pungent historical summary of the troubled nationalities that make up the population of former Yugoslavia, Vulliamy plunges readers headlong into a nightmarish war in which 85% of the dead are civilians, a war stained by concentration camps and genocidal violence. He describes a conflict in which a multiethnic Bosnian state has been caught in a territorial vise between two vicious and unprincipled neofascist states, one Croatian and one Serb; both, he says, are rabidly nationalistic and want to ``re-establish their ancient frontiers with modern weaponry in the chaos of post-communist eastern Europe.'' He describes formerly Muslim villages now ``gutted, charred and lifeless''; concentration camps full of men with skeletal bodies, ``alive, but decomposed, debased, degraded.'' Vulliamy harshly criticizes diplomatic cynicism, referring to the behavior of the European Community, the Russians, and the US as nothing less than a Munich-scale appeasement that has allowed the Serbs and Croats to blackmail, lie, and wheedle their way toward the dismemberment of Bosnia. He makes no effort to hide his distaste for the politicians who engendered the butchery or the diplomats who made it possible. The reporting and the writing are comprehensive and moving, and it is hard to imagine anyone coming away from this volume not feeling enraged and dismayed by events in Bosnia. If readers are seeking an objective and detached history of this conflict, this is the wrong book. However, it is one of the best books to date on the Bosnian tragedy. A powerful and important volume.