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Capsule Review

Balkan Battlegrounds: A Military History of the Yugoslav Conflict, 1990-1995

In This Review

Balkan Battlegrounds: A Military History of the Yugoslav Conflict, 1990-1995

Balkan Battlegrounds: A Military History of the Yugoslav Conflict, 1990-1995
By The Central Intelligence Agency
CIA Office of Public Affairs, 2002, 501 pp. $188.00 Purchase

The historian of recent wars is often at a loss for material -- often just a patchwork of newspaper reports, firsthand accounts by eyewitnesses, and the memoirs of politicians and soldiers whose concern for their reputations may outweigh their obligations to history. In contrast, this massive volume is a wonderful resource for scholars and students alike. To take but one example, its account of Slovenia's successful struggle against the far larger Yugoslav National Army is a remarkable look at how a tiny country combined old techniques of territorial warfare with a distinctly modern sense of media relations. The work is based exclusively on unclassified sources, although the analysts clearly had access to much more. Some readers will be put off by the array of tables, elaborate chronology, and massive footnotes. But many more will be grateful for the authors' meticulousness and the thick wad of excellent maps that accompanies this volume. This work is a superb contribution to contemporary strategic studies and will prove a boon to students in universities and war colleges alike. Three cheers for the authors -- and for whoever in the government had the good sense to support this publication.

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