Tim Marshall
ARRSE Rating
3.5 Mushroom Heads
This is a revised and updated version of the book first released in 2002, the author is an international editor for Sky, and reported from the Balkans from the mid 90's onwards. I'll be kind and presume that it's a simple editing error subtitling the book “The inside story of Europe's last war” as even Sky should be aware that there is a current conflict ongoing in Ukraine, which the last time I looked was in Eastern Europe. This has been revised and reprinted to mark the twentieth anniversary of the ending of the Kosovo conflict, all high and mighty and noble and no mention of making money.

While it may not offer the depth of understanding and analysis of an academic work, it does try and explain the background to the latest conflict in the Balkans. It's well written and covers the authors reporting of the worsening situation in Kosovo from the dark autumn days of 1998, through the NATO Air campaign and the ground forces intervention. Whilst it's definitely not “thrilling” as claimed by the back cover blurb, the narrative holds your interest and moves along at an acceptable pace. For those who were there at the time and intimately involved, parts of Marshall's experience will mirror your own, but his wider view and knowledge and acquaintance with some of the more colourful figures (from all sides) will add a different perspective.

It won't add a lot to the knowledge of the Balkan conflicts but it does highlight the human side and is interesting, even if you've never been nearer than watching it on the Television. The book is dedicated to one of his local friends, who worked with Marshall throughout his various stints in the Balkans, simply stating he was “a Yugoslav who had his country taken away” which I found poignant as I too met people in the Balkans who still could only think of themselves as Yugoslavs.

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