The Bridge Betrayed

The Bridge Betrayed

Religion and Genocide in Bosnia

eBook - 1998
Rate this:
University of California Press
"Sells brings a deep historical perspective to bear on recent events, and he powerfully indicts not only those Balkan leaders who manipulate popular fears and fanaticism to further their expansionist aims, but also those Western politicians and diplomats who helped obscure the truth about the campaign by Serb and Croat religious nationalists to destroy the uniquely rich culture of Bosnia."--William Finnegan, staff reporter for The New Yorker and author of A Complicated War

The recent atrocities in Bosnia-Herzegovina have stunned people throughout the world. With Holocaust memories still painfully vivid, a question haunts us: how is this savagery possible? Michael A. Sells answers by demonstrating that the Bosnian conflict is not simply a civil war or a feud of age-old adversaries. It is, he says, a systematic campaign of genocide and a Christian holy war spurred by religious mythologies.

This passionate yet reasoned book examines how religious stereotypingin popular and official discoursehas fueled Serbian and Croatian ethnic hatreds. Sells, who is himself Serbian American, traces the cultural logic of genocide to the manipulation by Serb nationalists of the symbolism of Christ's death, in which Muslims are "Christ-killers" and Judases who must be mercilessly destroyed. He shows how "Christoslavic" religious nationalism became a central part of Croat and Serbian politics, pointing out that intellectuals and clergy were key instruments in assimilating extreme religious and political ideas.

Sells also elucidates the ways that Western policy makers have rewarded the perpetrators of the genocide and punished the victims. He concludes with a discussion of how the multireligious nature of Bosnian society has been a bridge between Christendom and Islam, symbolized by the now-destroyed bridge at Mostar. Drawing on historical documents, unpublished United Nations reports, articles from Serbian and Bosnian media, personal contacts in the region, and Internet postings, Sells reveals the central role played by religious mythology in the Bosnian tragedy. In addition, he makes clear how much is at stake for the entire world in the struggle to preserve Bosnia's existence as a multireligious society.

Blackwell North Amer
The Bridge Betrayed reveals the crucial role of the religious mythology of Kosovo in the destruction of Yugoslavia and the genocide in Bosnia. A new preface discusses the deepening crisis in Kosovo - the epicenter of that mythology.

Publisher: Berkeley : University of California Press, c1998
ISBN: 9780520922099
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xv, 244 p.) : ill., maps


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

There are no comments for this title yet.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further


Subject Headings


Find it at IPL

To Top