Book Review: 'Bosnia: A Short History'
At a glance Noel Malcolm's Bosnia: A Short History looks to provide a brief account of Bosnia in build up to the contemporary conflict between the Serbs and the Croats in the former Yugoslavia. Clearly, Malcolm's intent is to accommodate for those who are unfamiliar with this area of history or those that have witnessed the said conflict through the media over the past decade. As well as to "dispel some of the clouds of misunderstanding... ...and sheer ignorance" amongst those that are familiar with the region. In a book of only 252 pages which covers a period spanning nearly 1000 years Malcolm has chosen an arduous task.
Malcolm's argument promotes that contemporary individuals such as the Serb President Milosevic are much to blame for the bloody conflict. In an attempt to prove the "myth" that it was in-fact solely a product of long standing differences within Bosnia itself, wrong.
Using an arsenal of solid historical fact gained from his, obviously extensive research. As well as sound logical reasoning in most places. He makes his case surprisingly well for such a concise book.
This profile of Bosnia begins during the Roman period. Detailing how the Slavs that occupied the region during this time came to be. Although rather bland to read, this section makes a necessary contribution to Malcolm's argument. In that it destroys the common misconceptions among contemporary politicians and some media commentators that there has always been a mix of Serbs and Croats in Bosnia. The first chapter explicitly points out that Serb and Croat national identity did not even begin to be constructed in Bosnia until roughly 300 years ago.
During the recent conflict many Serb and Croat historians formed religious arguments to justify the removal of the...