Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West

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In a shocking and deeply disturbing tour de force, David Rieff, reporting from the Bosnia war zone and from Western capitals and United Nations headquarters, indicts the West and the United Nations for standing by and doing nothing to stop the genocide of the Bosnian Muslims. Slaughterhouse is the definitive explanation of a war that will be remembered as the greatest failure of Western diplomacy since the 1930s. Bosnia was more than a human tragedy. It was the emblem of the international community's failure and ...
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1995 Hardcover First Edition; First Printing New in New dust jacket 0671881183. Book and DJ are New, first edition, first printing, S-108, ; 8.90 X 5.90 X 0.50 inches; 240 pages.

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Overview

In a shocking and deeply disturbing tour de force, David Rieff, reporting from the Bosnia war zone and from Western capitals and United Nations headquarters, indicts the West and the United Nations for standing by and doing nothing to stop the genocide of the Bosnian Muslims. Slaughterhouse is the definitive explanation of a war that will be remembered as the greatest failure of Western diplomacy since the 1930s. Bosnia was more than a human tragedy. It was the emblem of the international community's failure and confusion in the post-Cold War era. In Bosnia, genocide and ethnic fascism reappeared in Europe for the first time in fifty years. But there was no will to confront them, either on the part of the United States, Western Europe, or the United Nations, for which the Bosnian experience was as catastrophic and demoralizing as Vietnam was for the United States. It is the failure and its implications that Rieff anatomizes in this unforgiving account of a war that might have been prevented and could have been stopped.

The war that erupted in April 1992 has turned Bosnia into what Rieff starkly--and accurately--calls a slaughterhouse. In this chronicle of his time spent in Bosnia between 1992 and 1994, Rieff presents an unforgettable "lament for Bosnia and a stinging indictment of Western policy" Michael Ignatieff, New York Times Book Review.

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Editorial Reviews

Advocate
Rieff writes with a knowledge so thorough, an intelligence so keen, a passion so scalding, and a morality so vigorous, that one cannot come away from reading this without despair for mankind.
New Republic
An epitaph for Bosnia, or for us. I do not think anyone should be able to read this book without pain and anger.
—Anthony Lewis
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Journalist Rieff's passionate indictment of the West's failure to intervene militarily in the Bosnian war. Mar.
Library Journal
Rieff provides a fine journalistic account of the war in former Yugoslavia. Despite his particular distaste for Croatian nationalism, he manages a relatively balanced treatment of the war in Bosnia. The book's strength lies in describing the war's detail. For example, Rieff explains the mechanics of "ethnic cleansing" in Banja Luka, Bosnia's second largest city, as a process involving Serbian "crisis committees," outside terror against uncooperative local Serbs, and the systematic murder of "Muslim notables." He also distinguished the venality of some of the U. N. Protection Forces as "accomplices to genocide" from the stark heroism of aid workers for the U.N. High Commission for Refugees. The book lacks the perspective of Misha Glenny's The Fall of Yugoslavia LJ 1/93 or the historical depth of Robert Donia and John Fine's excellent Bosnia and Hercegovina: A Tradition Betrayed LJ 10/1/94. Rieff also errs occasionally, e.g., Muslims in former Yugoslavia were declared a "constituent nation" in 1968-not 1974, as he asserts. But on the whole this book can be recommended for academic and public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/94.]-Zachary T. Irwin, Pennsylvania State Univ.-Erie
Mary Carroll
Dreams have died in Bosnia," declares Rieff, author of "The Exile" 1993 and studies of immigration's impact on Los Angeles and Miami, "the dream that the world has a conscience; the dream that Europe is a civilized place; the dream that there is justice for the weak as well as for the strong; . . . the old millenarium dream that the truth will set us free." In a scathing indictment of worldwide fecklessness in the face of the destruction of Bosnia-Hercegovina, the death of 200,000 Bosnian Muslims, and the displacement of two million more, the author, who has researched this story in Europe and the nations of the former Yugoslavia since 1992, identifies many culprits: Western European countries, which resisted intervention from the start; the U.S., which pretended a concern it was not prepared to demonstrate; the United Nations, which, in spite of its valiant humanitarian relief work, saw its "mandate" as requiring "impartiality" between the victims and the perpetrators of genocide. "Slaughterhouse" is perhaps the most powerful, passionate, and penetrating dissection by a Westerner of the ongoing Bosnian tragedy.
From the Publisher
The Advocate Rieff writes with a knowledge so thorough, an intelligence so keen, a passion so scalding, and a morality so vigorous, that one cannot come away from reading this without despair for mankind.

Ronald Steel An acute and impassioned observer, David Rieff relates the tragedy of Bosnia with fire and anger.

Anthony Lewis The New Republic An epitaph for Bosnia, or for us. I do not think anyone should be able to read this book without pain and anger.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780671881184
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 3/3/1995
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 5.86 (w) x 8.79 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

David Rieff is a contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine. He is the author of seven previous books, including the acclaimed At the Point of a Gun: Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention; A Bed for the Night: Humanitarianism in Crisis; and Slaughterhouse: Bosnia and the Failure of the West. He lives in New York City.

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