Wednesday, April 09, 2008

"Genocide in Bosnia" by Norman Cigar--the book Diana Johnstone has never heard of.

I presume that most readers of this blog are already familiar with the excellent Genocide in Bosnia by Norman Cigar, a seminal work on the Bosnian war. Even if you haven't read it (an error I encourage you to rectify!), it is highly likely you have heard of it and are familiar with its contents.

So this is not a preface to a book review*; rather, having recently taken the time to read the book from start to finish, I was struck not only by how clearly and forcefully Cigar made his case, but also by the fact that in my readings of Balkan revisionist literature I have, to my recollection, not once come across a citation of or reference to this rather well-known and widely-cited work.

This is rather remarkable, since this book is widely acknowledged to be the first substative work in the Western world on the subject; much of the western 'case' against the Serbian political establishment was at the very least informed by--if not based on--Cigar's analysis.

And yet Diana Johnstone, for example, seemed blissfully unaware of this book while writing Fools' Crusade, a book in which she found ample space to devote to attacking David Rieff's Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West (and Rieff himself, naturally), as well as other works of journalism and advocacy. Ed Vulliamy, author of Seasons in Hell, still draws the ire of Balkan revisionists angry about the Living Marxism/ITN lawsuit. Yet, Johnstone, Parenti, and their fellow-travelors cannot seem to find time to deal with this rather large elephant in their cramped little room.

Telling, I'd say.

*And thank goodness, since I'm about to begin a review of Radha Kumar's Divide and Fall, with Philip Cohen's Serbia's Secret War waiting in the wings!

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