In This Review

Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo
Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo
By Miranda Vickers
Columbia University Press, 1998, 328 pp

Vickers, a respected historian of the Albanian people and Kosovo, makes a blunt case: because neither the Serbs nor the Kosovo Albanians will accept Kosovo's past constitutional autonomy, only two alternatives remain -- "independence guaranteed by international force or a bloodbath." Finishing the book in 1997, she reached this conclusion even before the current conflict erupted by basing her assessment on history. Like most students of the region, she argues that the worst of Balkan violence has been "instigated by outside powers and internal interest groups deliberately exploiting nationalism and outright chauvinism." Whether reading her account of the contested origins of the Albanians in ancient Greek and Roman times (contested because they motivate today's passions) or her discussion of the origins of the current tensions (which reignited in 1981), one comes away discouraged by how easy the task of outside troublemakers and inside chauvinists truly is.