In This Review

Milosevic: Portrait of a Tyrant
Milosevic: Portrait of a Tyrant
By Dusko Doder and Louise Branson
Free Press, 1999, 304 pp

Doder and Branson despise their biography's subject -- or rather subjects, since they write almost as much about Mirjana Markovic as about her husband. Other than the Serb leader's straight-arrow youth and the couple's deep mutual devotion, not much else of worth comes through. Both Milosevic's character -- cunning, charming, ambitious, and authoritarian -- and the sad, violent course of events since he came to power in the 1980s are by now well and oft told. Doder and Branson turn the familiar into a swift-flowing, highly readable account by dispensing with elaborate analytical context and concentrating on Milosevic's maneuverings, dramatic events, and even behind-the-scene conversations when possible. The book drives home how much the opportunistic exploitation of Serbian nationalism originally was underpinned by deep communist convictions -- and for Markovic, probably still is.