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Kosovo: A Short History by Noel Malcolm (1998)



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This is a very thorough history. It naturally brings in the whole Balkans, and therefore the Ottoman Empire too; these are brief, accessible, and a very nice introduction for the clueless like me. The Kosovo part is quite interesting, it's also dense, and there is an agenda (albeit, probably a justified one). The author firmly believes Kosovo should be independent and Albanian, and rejects the mythical Serbian links to the region as, well myth. Actually Serbia comes out awful... since day one of independence (1878). I found this quite readable and enjoyable in the way disturbing histories are enjoyable. ( )
1 vote dchaikin | Jun 7, 2007 |
By the early 1980s Kosovo had reached a state of permanent crisis and military occupation, and it became the main focus for the revival of Serbian nationalism. This book traces the history of Kosovo, examining the Yugoslavian conflict, and the part played by Western Europe in its destruction.
  antimuzak | Nov 14, 2005 |
Reviewed by Thomas Emmert for H-Net here:


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  chrisbrooke | Oct 1, 2005 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060977752, Paperback)

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

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:06 -0400)

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Clear and thorough documentation of the legal status of Kosovo over time.

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