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This section includes book reviews of 600-900 words, as well as some book notes of 100-200 words, on books of particular interest to the members of our group. If members either have a review that they consider of interest to the SG, or a recent book of their own, which they would like to see reviewed in the newsletter, please contact Cas Mudde at: Book Notes Lenard J. Cohen, Serpent in the Bosom: The Rise and Fall of Slobodan Milosevic, Boulder, CO: Westview, 2001, 496 pp., GBP 24.99/USD 35.00, ISBN 0-8133-2902-7 (hbk). Reviewed by Joseph Pearson (New York) Spectators to Milosevic´s presence at the Hague will appreciate Cohen´s readable chronology of "soft dictatorship" in 1990s Serbia. Not only does Cohen unravel Milosevic as an individual -whose oscillations in policy helped him remain so long in power- but he places his charismatic leadership within the context of Serbia´s public mood from the late 1980s. This approach is a much needed antidote to the way British broadsheets reporting the Hague trial have tended to place a great emphasis on Milosevic´s 'unique role' in the break-up of former Yugoslavia. Cohen looks instead to Milosevic´s relationship with varying levels of public support and resistance which led ultimately to his overthrow in 2000. Cohen´s analysis also comes, thankfully, with nary a word of tribal hatreds making the Yugoslav debacle comprehensible through contemporary sociopolitical developments as opposed to lingering Balkan ghosts and stereotypes of bloodthirstiness. The final part of the monograph is also a welcome addition to the literature. It looks at the future of Serbia and provides an optimistic view of Kustunica: poised between anti-NATO nationalism and the desire to help Serbia return to the international community. Yet, despite these good points, the shelf life of this book seems limited. Events in the Hague such as the progress of Milosevic´s indictments are, of course, absent in a book written almost entirely before the 2000 coup (the preface is dated October 2000). The proof in the pudding is that there are occasional slips into present tense that suggest Milosevic might still be in power. These 'presentist' reservations aside, the worth of this study is indubitably in its analysis of the past: a persuasive account of how Milosevic´s charismatic leadership employed politicised ethnicity for selfish ends.

2002 03 01 book reviews  
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