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Hearts Grown Brutal:: Sagas of Sarajevo
by Roger Cohen
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679452435, Hardcover)The 73-year life span of Yugoslavia roughly coincides with what historians have called "the short 20th century," from the onset of World War I to the end of the cold war. It was always a tenuously constructed nation, and when it finally collapsed, Roger Cohen was there, dutifully filing reports for the New York Times. In Hearts Grown Brutal, he adds depth and personal drama to the stories of civil war and ethnicide, and he points an accusing finger at the Western nations who put the lie to any notion of a "new world order" by offering only half-hearted challenges to Serbian aggression until nearly 250,000 innocents had died and 2.7 million civilians had been driven from their homes.
Cohen, like many Western analysts, observes that the clash between Muslim Bosnians, Catholic Croats, and Orthodox Serbs had been in the making for hundreds of years. But he locates the origins of the recent "collective madness"--as one Serbian leader called it--in World War II, when Croatia sided with the Nazis and when Serbia took the opportunity of the German invasion to settle old scores against Croats, Muslims, Jews, and Gypsies. Ordinary men and women of Yugoslavia committed extraordinary acts of inhumanity against one another during the war against Hitler. Post-Communist civil war gave them license to hate one another anew: when Serbia struck out at Bosnia and Croatia, all three nations fell into a frenzy of slaughter whose repercussions will be felt for generations to come. Hearts Grown Brutal is a somber, horrifying indictment of all involved that stands as an essential work of contemporary history. --Gregory McNamee
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 14 Feb 2013 13:57:51 -0500)
"Roger Cohen of The New York Times takes us to the core of one of the twentieth century's most complex stories, weaving together the history of Yugoslavia and the story of the Bosnian War of 1992 to 1995, as experienced by four families." ""This was a war of intimate betrayals," Cohen goes on to say, and in Hearts Grown Brutal, the betrayals begin in the family of a man named Sead. Through his search for his lost father, we relive the history of Yugoslavia, founded at the end of World War I with the encouragement of President Woodrow Wilson. Sead's desperate quest is punctuated by the lies, half truths, and pain that mark other sagas of Yugoslavia. Through three more families - one Muslim-Serb, one Muslim, and one Serb-Croat - we experience the war in Bosnia as it breaks up marriages and sets relative against relative. The reality of the Balkans is illuminated, even as the hypocrisy of the international response to the war is exposed."--BOOK JACKET.
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