Mojzes's book concerns ethnic cleansing or genocide in the Balkans three separate times in the 20th century. He bases his analysis on both primary and secondary sources, and the scope of the work as a whole is one of a region where violence built from one generation to the next. His research on the Balkan Wars (1912-13) is valuable, for while that series of conflicts has been told before, Mojzes (religious studies, Rosemont College) focuses on the killing between ethnic groups that is chilling and distinct from Great Power politics. From that point, it did not take much ignition from the Nazis to spark genocide in the region during WW II. Mojzes's discussion of the Jasenovac camps, both what the sources and the partisan politicians recount, is instructive. The author concludes with a glimpse into the genocide as Yugoslavia was breaking up, and the complexity of how to sort through such bestial killing both legally and morally. This study includes important details for scholars and students....Mojzes has written a study on which other scholars will be able to build. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
— Choice Reviews
The Balkan peninsula, with its crisscrossing mountain ranges, is divided into relatively small geographic regions and equally small religious and ethnic enclaves. Whenever the Ottoman, Austro-Hungarian, and, later, various Communist overlordships crumbled, the peoples of those divisions were free to have at each other throughout the last century. As Mojzes, a professor of religious studies at Rosemont College, indicates, the Balkans have earned “bragging rights” as a center of genocide and ethnic cleansing. Mojzes begins with a definition of terms, distinguishing between the often misunderstood differences between genocide and ethnic cleansing. He proceeds in a methodical, sometimes ponderous way to explain the causes and courses of these outrages while striving for fairness, since objectivity about such emotional issues may be impossible. Some of the events he reports, such as the cleansing and massacres during the breakup of Yugoslavia, will be familiar to most readers. Others, such as the mass expulsions and killings during the Balkan wars of 1912–13, are less well-known. A disturbing but important work about a still volatile region.
With this book, Paul Mojzes has again put Eastern European scholarship in his debt....No other book offers such a thorough, careful, balanced treatment of the topic. The scholarship is sound: it is careful, even comprehensive (given the limitations of some sources), and as complete as could be hoped. This is the best book in the field. It is warmly recommended.
— Occasional Papers on Religion in Eastern Europe
Author Paul Mojzes tests the application of the terms ‘genocide’, ‘ethnic cleansing’, and ‘holocaust’ to the twentieth-century history of South-eastern Europe. Mojzes is concerned about what he sees as the propensity for mass violence in the region in question, ‘if there were “bragging rights” for being a genocidal and ethnic cleansing area, the Balkans could claim championship status’, says Mojzes (p. 1). He looks for evidence of genocide and ethnic cleansing during the period of the Balkan wars at the beginning of the twentieth century (1912-1913) the Second World War (1941-1945), and the wars that followed the break-up of Yugoslavia at the end of the twentieth-century (1991-1999). . . To be sure, this is an important and worthwhile project.
Paul Mojzes is a well-informed and eminent historian of religion with a profound interest in the study of ethno-religion as the rationale for genocide. ... He offers his readers an excellent comprehensive and systematic, narrative of the horrific events that dominated the first and last decades of the previous century. ... His analysis and the interpretation of the different wars in the Balkans during the last century, and horrors they produces are very engaging. Mojzes' book adds greatly to our understanding of ethnic conflict and genocide. I highly recommend Balkan Genocides to anyone interested in topics of ethnic cleansing, genocide, ethno-religious nationalism, ethno-religious warfare, and cultural vandalism.
Balkan Genocides sets out a history of conflict, mass violence, ethnic cleansing, and genocide in the Balkans throughout the Twentieth Century. It is an extremely useful text, providing an overview of such events during that period, and offers readers more of a contextual conception of conflicts in the region. . . .In writing this book, Mojzes is clearly driven by a passion for justice and truth — an acknowledgment of wrongs — as a way to move forward and attempt to clear the hostilities of the past. . . .Balkan Genocides is a valuable contribution to the literature, and will be of use on the shelf of any scholar or practitioner in the fields of genocide studies, history, political science, international law, religion, socio-cultural anthropology, and sociology.
— E-International Relations
The strength of Mojzes’ work rests in drawing together and defining major instances of genocide and ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. . . . Scholars of genocide looking for an introduction to instances of genocide in the Balkans will find the book to be useful and accessible.
— Holocaust and Genocide Studies
[Balkan Genocides] go well beyond the binary stereotypes of the region — East versus West, liberal versus authoritarian, nationalist versus cosmopolitan — in their interrogation of what constitutes normalcy for a group of diverse countries with overlapping historical experiences and the frequent misfortune of being stuck between larger, more ambitious powers.
— Los Angeles Review of Books
In this long-awaited book Paul Mojzes finally puts in context and perspective the crimes of genocide in the Balkans in the troublesome twentieth century. Their pervasive and frequent occurrence and ubiquitous diffusion required an explanation beyond the existing isolated case studies, one-sided indictments and slanted accounts. Mojzes offers a new interpretation of the recent Balkan history informed by paradigms from genocide and holocaust studies. Its rich historical narrative is interspersed with theological and philosophical observations and personal reminiscences of a veteran Balkan scholar. I would recommend it to all who are puzzled by recent history of violence in the Balkans and unhappy about its shallow media coverage.
— Bojan Aleksov, University College London
I have followed with much interest the continuing, careful, and highly-nuanced scholarship of Paul Mojzes regarding the genocides in the Balkan region, both historical and contemporary. His work is made all the more significant because of his familiarity with the languages of the region and his primary insight regarding ethnoreligion as the rationale for genocide in that under-explored area. As one concerned with the nexus between religion and genocide, I applaud Mojzes for this latest contribution and recommend it to the widest possible reading audience of all those concerned with this ongoing horror.
— Steven Leonard Jacobs, Aaron Aronov Chair of Judaic Studies, University of Alabama
This book is both comprehensive and even-handed. It stands out as preeminent over everything written on the subject of genocide in southeastern Europe to date. It is, unquestionably, the premiere work in the field, without a doubt the best.
— James Payton, professor of history, Redeemer University College
This is an extremely important book, which has no rival in print. It systematically covers all regions and puts late 20th century events in a much larger historical field. It is unflinching in its consideration of the parties involved and treats all victims with consistent empathy.
— Christopher P. Parr, professor of religious studies, Webster University
As the Founding Director of the Master of Arts Program in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Balkan Genocides: Holocaust and Ethnic Cleansing in the 20th Century is exactly the book for which I have been searching. There has not existed such a comprehensive, user friendly volume in this subject area. Professor Mojzes, a world authority on the history, political and sociological implications of the Balkans, provides precise scholarship, in a readable manner reflecting his many decades of research, scholarship and personal experience in that region of the world.
— Marcia Sachs Littell, Richard Stockton College of NJ
Mojzes' comprehensive, systematic and well documented book shows how the Balkans in the 20th century finally became an integral part of modern Europe, shaped by the exclusivistic nation-state principle: a bunch of small, monoethnic, irredentistic states, of hostile neighbours instead of friendly and cooperative nations. This was achieved with the same horrific methods as elsewhere, whatever they are called: genocide, mass killings, or ethnic cleansing. All these were not caused by some ancient hatreds, ethnic and religious differences, irreconcilable national characters, or irrational mentality, but by a deliberate, well planned, and ruthlessly executed power politics. Mojzes' is not only a punctilious study of bloody episodes of the last century in the Balkans, but also a convincing warning from the recent past, what mistakes must not be repeated in the future, at all costs.
— Mitja Velikonja, professor of cultural studies, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia