As a librarian, I collect books without prejudice. It’s practically a part of our code of ethics. After all, how can you discuss and research Holocaust deniers (and the like) if you don’t have the original text? Not to mention, there are any number of subtopics on any given subject that eventually wind up shifting to the forefront of scholarly research. Who’s to say that academics won’t turn their attention to the Congo in the coming months? Or to Timor?
Nonetheless, I was a little disturbed by a recent book entitled Ratko Mladic: Tragic Hero. I agree that every story has any number of sides and, academically speaking, you have to examine them all before you make a decision. Yet, I have to admit I nearly choked on my coffee when I read the title of this book. Even if you’re going to argue that Mladic wasn’t responsible for the Srebrenica massacre, it’s hard to understand how you could formulate an argument for him being a “tragic hero.”
As a librarian, it’s certainly going to find its way into my purchase queue. But Yelesiyevich (the author) would have to pull off a phenomenally Herculean feat in order to convince me that Mladic was heroic.