When President Clinton sent Richard Holbrooke to Bosnia as America's chief negotiator in late 1995, he took a gamble that would eventually redefine his presidency. But there was no saying then, at the height of the war, that Holbrooke's mission would succeed. The odds were strongly against it.
As passionate as he was controversial, Holbrooke believed that the only way to bring peace to the Balkans was through a complex blend of American leadership, aggressive and creative diplomacy, and a willingness to use force, if necessary, in the cause for peace. This was not a universally popular view. Resistance was fierce within the United Nations and the chronically divided Contact Group, and in Washington, where many argued that the United States should not get more deeply involved. This book is Holbrooke's gripping inside account of his mission, of the decisive months when, belatedly and reluctantly but ultimately decisively, the United States reasserted its moral authority and leadership and ended Europe's worst war in over half a century. To End a War reveals many important new details of how America made this historic decision.
What George F. Kennan has called Holbrooke's "heroic efforts" were shaped by the enormous tragedy with which the mission began, when three of his four team members were killed during their first attempt to reach Sarajevo. In Belgrade, Sarajevo, Zagreb, Paris, Athens, and Ankara, and throughout the dramatic roller-coaster ride at Dayton, he tirelessly imposed, cajoled, and threatened in the quest to stop the killing and forge a peace agreement. Holbrooke's portraits of the key actors, from officials in the White House and the Élysée Palace to the leaders in the Balkans, are sharp and unforgiving. His explanation of how the United States was finally forced to intervene breaks important new ground, as does his discussion of the near disaster in the early period of the implementation of the Dayton agreement.
To End a War is a brilliant portrayal of high-wire, high-stakes diplomacy in one of the toughest negotiations of modern times. A classic account of the uses and misuses of American power, its lessons go far beyond the boundaries of the Balkans and provide a powerful argument for continued American leadership in the modern world.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of Romance eBook: To End a War|
|Release Date: 01-26-2011|
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|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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To End a War
The Most Dangerous
Road in Europe
(August 15-21, 1995)
For all of us there is a twilight zone between history and memory; between the past as a generalized record which is open to relatively dispassionate inspection and the past as a remembered part of, or background to, one's own life.
--ERIC HOBSBAWM, The Age of Empire: 1875-1914
THE MOUNT IGMAN ROUTE TO SARAJEVO was often described as the most dangerous road in Europe. Parts of the road, a narrow, winding red-dirt track originally used only by farmers and shepherds, were controlled by Serb machine gunners, who regularly shot at U.N. vehicles trying to reach the Bosnian capital. The roadbed itself had little foundation and no reinforcement along its sides, and in several of its narrower sections it was difficult for two cars to pass each other. The wreckage of vehicles that had slid off the road or been hit by Serb gunners littered the steep slopes and ravines. In the summer of 1995, however, with the airport closed by Serb artillery, the two-hour drive over Mount Igman was the only way to reach Sarajevo without going through Bosnian Serb lines.
The chief European negotiator, Carl Bildt of Sweden, had been shot at as he crossed Serb territory only weeks earlier. He urged us not to use the Igman road. But without visiting Bosnia's beleaguered capital we could not carry out our mission. On August 15, we made our first attempt, taking a United Nations helicopter from the Croatian coastal tow...