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Kosovo Liberation Army: The Inside Story of an Insurgency Europe Albania Henry H. Perritt Jr. University of Illinois Press


24th June 2013 History Books 3 Comments

“A primer on the Kosovo liberation movement, the leaders of the movement … and the nature of modern nationalist insurgencies.”–Military History

"[Perritt] skillfully uses the story of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) as a vehicle to develop interesting and very relevant analyses about the nature of contemporary insurgencies and ways to respond to them, both internally and internationally."–Slavonic and East European Review

The military intervention by NATO in Kosovo was portrayed in American media as a necessary step to prevent the Serbian armed forces from repeating the ethnic cleansing that had so deeply damaged the former Yugoslavia. Serbia trained its military on Kosovo because of an ongoing armed struggle by ethnic Albanians to wrest independence from Serbia. Warfare in the Balkans seemed to threaten the stability of Europe, as well as the peace and security of Kosovars, and yet armed resistance seemed to offer the only possibility of future stability. Leading the struggle against Serbia was the Kosovo Liberation Army, also known as the KLA.

Kosovo Liberation Army: The Inside Story of an Insurgency provides a historical background for the KLA and describes its activities up to and including the NATO intervention. Henry H. Perritt Jr. offers firsthand insight into the motives and organization of a popular insurgency, detailing the strategies of recruitment, training, and financing that made the KLA one of the most successful insurgencies of the post-cold war era. This volume also tells the personal stories of young people who took up guns in response to repeated humiliation by "foreign occupiers," as they perceived the Serb police and intelligence personnel. Perritt illuminates the factors that led to the KLA’s success, including its convergence with political developments in eastern Europe, its campaign for popular support both at home and abroad, and its participation in international negotiations and a peace settlement that helped pave the long road from war to peace.

The military intervention by NATO in Kosovo was portrayed in American media as a necessary step to prevent the Serbian armed forces from repeating the ethnic cleansing that had so deeply damaged the former Yugoslavia. Serbia trained its military on Kosovo because of an ongoing armed struggle by ethnic Albanians to wrest independence from Serbia. Warfare in the Balkans seemed to threaten the stability of Europe, as well as the peace and security of Kosovars, and yet armed resistance seemed to offer the only possibility of future stability. Leading the struggle against Serbia was the Kosovo Liberation Army, also known as the KLA.

Kosovo Liberation Army: The Inside Story of an Insurgency provides a historical background for the KLA and describes its activities up to and including the NATO intervention. Henry H. Perritt Jr. offers firsthand insight into the motives and organization of a popular insurgency, detailing the strategies of recruitment, training, and financing that made the KLA one of the most successful insurgencies of the post-cold war era. This volume also tells the personal stories of young people who took up guns in response to repeated humiliation by "foreign occupiers," as they perceived the Serb police and intelligence personnel. Perritt illuminates the factors that led to the KLA’s success, including its convergence with political developments in eastern Europe, its campaign for popular support both at home and abroad, and its participation in international negotiations and a peace settlement that helped pave the long road from war to peace.

“A primer on the Kosovo liberation movement, the leaders of the movement … and the nature of modern nationalist insurgencies.”–Military History

"[Perritt] skillfully uses the story of the Kosovo Liberation Army as a vehicle to develop interesting and very relevant analyses about the nature of contemporary insurgencies and ways to respond to them, both internally and internationally."–Slavonic and East European Review

Kosovo Liberation Army: The Inside Story of an Insurgency

Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know

Judah, a correspondent for the Economist who has covered the Balkans during years of great change and upheaval, takes up the daunting challenge of explaining Kosovo’s—and its region’s—history to a novice reader. His emphasis is on the past 20 years, with enough about earlier years to explain issues that linger. The small state of Kosovo, with its predominantly ethnic Albanian population, declared independence from Serbia earlier this year. The relationship between Albanians and Serbs has been a complex dance of changing allies and hegemons, as well as continuing animosity, with refugee populations frequently stranded on the wrong side of a changed border. Judah does a commendable job of telling the dense story in an understandable fashion. Because the region changes so quickly, an up-to-date history like this is welcome. Readers seeking a more in-depth treatment will be well served by Miranda Vickers’s Between Serb and Albanian: A History of Kosovo, now ten years old, or Paul Hockenos’s more recent Homeland Calling: Exile Patriotism and the Balkan Wars. Suitable for popular collections.—Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

On February 17, 2008, Kosovo declared its independence, becoming the seventh state to emerge from the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. A tiny country of just two million people, 90% of whom are ethnic Albanians, Kosovo is central-geographically, historically, and politically-to the future of the Western Balkans and, in turn, its potential future within the European Union. But the fate of both Kosovo, condemned by Serbian leaders as a “fake state” and the region as a whole, remains uncertain.

In Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know, Tim Judah provides a straight-forward guide to the complicated place that is Kosovo. Judah, who has spent years covering the region, offers succinct, penetrating answers to a wide range of questions: Why is Kosovo important? Who are the Albanians? Who are the Serbs? Why is Kosovo so important to Serbs? What role does Kosovo play in the region and in the world? Judah reveals how things stand now and presents the history and geopolitical dynamics that have led to it. The most important of these is the question of the right to self-determination, invoked by the Kosovo Albanians, as opposed to right of territorial integrity invoked by the Serbs. For many Serbs, Kosovo’s declaration of independence and subsequent recognition has been traumatic, a savage blow to national pride. Albanians, on the other hand, believe their independence rights an historical wrong: the Serbian conquest of Kosovo in 1912.

For anyone wishing to understand both the history and possible future of Kosovo at this pivotal moment in its history, this book offers a wealth of insight and information in a uniquely accessible format.

Kosovo: What Everyone Needs to Know










  • 3 responses to "Kosovo Liberation Army: The Inside Story of an Insurgency Europe Albania Henry H. Perritt Jr. University of Illinois Press"

  • Tom Bosworth
    6:01 on June 24th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    A consise review of the Kosovo liberation Army, based primarily on information abouth one of the leaders, without going into history of the developemnt on the Army. Missing part in the analysis is the role KLA played during the NATO attack on Serbia, including Kosovo

  • Morgantheaxe
    5:59 on June 25th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Tim Judah did a very good job. I found it interesting that he advoided speaking about the horrible things that happened on both sides. He walked on egg shells regarding the rape, torture, and genocide the Serbs caused. One important point however that he missed is explaining more into the reasons of the Russians supporting Serbia. He does tell some but never explains their heritage relation. Serbs are Russians and that is why they call eachother brothers and refer to “Mother Russia”. Slavs are decendents of Russia and came down to take over land in the early AD’s. I think that Tim Judah needed to explain further the past relationship and understanding about the Russians and Serbs so that it makes more sense of why to be on their side compared to just the logistics of Odessa and Georgia. I think he assumed that most readers would know and understand this already but I don’t think they do. So, now you know.

  • Alan Pearlstein
    7:51 on June 26th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    The author has been strongly committed to Kosovo independence – his partisanship shows through on most pages.

    The book has some excellent background material not available from open sources elsewhere. The author grasped the theoretical principles of asymmetric warfare quite well. However the discussion of tactics (including some factual errors) shows a very limited understanding of practical military affairs.

    The author totally ignores subsequent Serbian claims that the KLA committed some serious atrocities against the local population, and played a role in the expulsion of the Albanians – the claims may be spurious, but they should have been addressed. Since there is a fairly long section on post-war events, the ethnic cleansing of the Serbs and other non-Albanians (and this is NOT spurious) should have also been addressed.

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