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Radovan Karadžić, leader of the Bosnian Serb nationalists during the Bosnian War (1992–1995), stands accused of genocide and other crimes of war before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague. This book traces the origins of the extreme violence of the war to the utopian national aspirations of the Serb Democratic Party and Karadžić's personal transformation from an unremarkable family man to the powerful leader of the Bosnian Serb nationalists. Based on previously unused documents from the tribunal's archives and many hours of Karadžić's cross-examination at his trial, the author shows why and how the Bosnian Serb leader planned and directed the worst atrocities in Europe since the Second World War. This book provocatively argues that postcommunist democracy was a primary enabler of mass atrocities because it provided the means to mobilize large numbers of Bosnian Serbs for the campaign to eliminate non-Serbs from conquered land.Read more
- Draws on the author's personal experiences as a witness of Karadžić's trial for genocide, and upon thousands of documents gathered by prosecutors for that trial
- Shows that democracy and constitutions facilitated mass violence rather than prevented it
Reviews & endorsements
"Radovan Karadžić’s prominence as the architect of a bitter war that took over one hundred thousand lives, most of them civilians, and Karadžić’s mercurial and flamboyant personality, make him a compelling subject of a biography. This powerful account by Dr Robert Donia does what any excellent biography of a political figure ought to do, and that is to tell a larger story through the prism of one key actor. This book is about much more than Radovan Karadžić: it is about the powder-keg of Balkans nationalism, the particular historical moment after the end of the Cold War, and ineffectiveness of international diplomacy. In charting the rise and fall of Karadžić, Donia recounts an eternal story about the populist demagogue who sweeps to power through his tremendous charisma and intellectual ability and is then undone by his own megalomania and self-inflicted injuries. A completely gripping read."
Richard Ashby Wilson, University of Connecticut, author of Writing History in international Criminal TrialsSee more reviews
"Robert Donia, one of our most esteemed experts on the history of Yugoslavia, has written a remarkably detailed and lively biography of Radovan Karadžić, former President of the Bosnian Serb Republic and the man most responsible for the Srebrenica genocide. Using secret documents and telephone intercepts gathered by the prosecutors in the Hague - as well as drawing from his own interchanges with Karadžić while serving as an expert witness - Donia has artfully captured the complexity, the political acumen, and the sheer evil of this crucial architect of the war in Bosnia."
Norman M. Naimark, Robert and Florence McDonnell Professor of East European Studies, Stanford University
"Robert Donia’s biography traces the life of Radovan Karadžić, leader of the Bosnian Serb nationalists during the Bosnian War (1992–95), from peasant origins to one of the 20th century’s most wanted war criminals. Eschewing simple categorization of Karadžić as either evil madman or rational mastermind, Donia draws upon newly-available primary source materials, including transcripts of the Bosnian Serb Assembly and intercepted telephone conversations, to produce a page-turning study of the genocide’s chief architect. He shows how Karadžić seized opportunities, honed his strategies and sparred with opponents on both the domestic and international stage. This book will soon become a classic work on the Bosnian war that claimed more than 100,000 lives and joins the best scholarship on history’s most notorious leaders."
Lara J. Nettelfield, Royal Holloway, University of London, coauthor of Srebrenica in the Aftermath of Genocide and author of Courting Democracy in Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Hague Tribunal's Impact in a Postwar State
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- Date Published: September 2014
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781107423084
- length: 351 pages
- dimensions: 229 x 151 x 20 mm
- weight: 0.52kg
- contains: 8 b/w illus. 6 maps 2 tables
Table of Contents
1. Youth of hardship, lands of lore
2. Sacrificial founder
3. Naïve nationalist
4. Milošević's willing disciple
5. The autumn of Radovan's rage
6. Visionary planner
8. Imperious Serb unifier
9. Triumphant conspirator
10. Strategic multitasker
11. Callous perpetrator
12. Duplicitous diplomat
13. Host in solitude
14. Architect of genocide
15. Falling star
16. Resourceful fugitive
17. Radovan Karadžić and the Bosnian War.
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