The Death of Yugoslavia

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<em>The Death of Yugoslavia</em> is a BBC documentary series first broadcast in 1995, and is also the name of a book written by Allan Little and Laura Silber that accompanies the series.

It covers the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. It is notable in its combination of never-before-seen archive footage interspersed with interviews of most of the main players in the conflict. This format, pioneered by the programme’s production company, Brian Lapping Associates, was very influential and the company produced many others in similar style.

There is a malicious game to play when listening, as we all have, to people sounding off with pat formulas about the terrible civil war that destroyed Yugoslavia: how many seconds before the first flat contradiction? Even the nimblest minds usually spin off the road after less than 30.

To stress that the causes of the war are complex is not to say nobody is to blame, principles are not at stake or nothing can be done – just that making sense of complexity takes time. And time is what Norma Percy of Brian Lapping Associates has taken in an excellent, if depressing, documentary.

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