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Summary

A gripping eyewitness account of a major 20th-century military conflict by the UK's most popular writer on geopolitics.

The shattering of Yugoslavia in the 1990s showed that, after nearly 50 years of peace, war could return to Europe. It came to its bloody conclusion in Kosovo in 1999.

Tim Marshall, then diplomatic editor at Sky News, was on the ground covering the Kosovo War. This is his illuminating account of how events unfolded, a thrilling journalistic memoir drawing on personal experience, eyewitness accounts, and interviews with intelligence officials from five countries.

Twenty years on from the war's end, with the rise of Russian power, a weakened NATO and stalled EU expansion, this story is more relevant than ever, as questions remain about the possibility of conflict on European soil. Utterly gripping, this is Tim Marshall at his very best: behind the lines, under fire, and full of the insight that has made him one of Britain's foremost writers on geopolitics.

©2002, 2019 Tim Marshall (P)2019 Elliot & Thompson Audio

What listeners say about Shadowplay: Behind the Lines and Under Fire

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Edge of your seat tension with a very human angle

I love that Tim Marshall's actual voice is the one taking listeners back to this compelling time in history. If you're fascinated by Balkan history and if you work, live, go to school alongside Serbian, Kosovar Albanians, Macedonians, and Croats, you must listen to/read this book to understand their story and what they've been through historically. It's a fantastic book. I was a young woman during the break-up of Yugoslavia and its 'civil war' as we referred to it. My prom date in high school was a Croatian Yugoslavian who was returning to fight. I recall vividly how suddenly, my Yugoslavian friends dispersed as they became solely Serbs and Croats (the two predominant cultures in my local Californian community) and no longer spoke to one another or ate at the same lunch tables. This was 6400 miles away from the bombs and the unravelling of this region, steeped in pride, bad blood, and old traditions, held together for a short time by that binding but fragile notion of 'being Yugoslavian'. How easily and violently that ideal broke apart. There were so many moments during my listen to Shadowplay where I literally let out small gasps, so taken in was I by the various stories, gripping situations, and especially by Tim Marshall's delivery of his experiences as a journalist on the ground during the bombing campaigns. Gripping doesn't begin to describe it! I really appreciated the friendships he formed in this fraught region. Everyone he encounters is a real character. I found myself worrying about the fate of every friend Tim encountered. And you get the sense that, despite the trauma and the fear, a real sense of brotherhood saw Tim and his wingmen through this trial by fire. You are made acutely aware that many civilians did not get to celebrate the end of such dark days.

8 people found this helpful

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I thought it’s history of the conflict

It’s just chronicles when the author was a journalist. The title is misleading. The title portray that it’s the history of the conflict. I was so looking forward to listen the book.

5 people found this helpful

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Juvenile.. don’t bother

A juvenile account .. I suppose what you would expect from a sky reporter.. look for a more intelligent analysis

4 people found this helpful

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Fascinating

i simply had to go on and on. will go back now and take it all pm board more slowly.

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Tim Marshalls ego trip.

10 maps that shaped the world was the best geo political book I ever read . outstanding and one of my top 10 books ever. I immediately looked up the author and downloaded the rest of his work first listening to 'worth dying for' which was learned and an ok read. But this was atrocious. Petty digs at other people in his trade , petty squabbles and arrogant bigging yourself up at every opportunity was so annoying and id bet his an arrogant person cause this book stank of me me me. its a book about the author saying how smart n great he is. skip to the conclusion if u wanna learn some bit about inside the times and about the people of this war

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Amusing and informative

While Marshall’s other books are good this is absolutely fantastic. The human touch of Marshall’s self deprecating humour is brilliant! It makes the book real and interesting, while also having fantastic content!

2 people found this helpful

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Fantastic insight

Marshall manages the impressive feat of providing an account of Europe's last war that is at times particularly personal, but always detailed and informative. The narration by Marshall also helps, delivered with his usual gusto. Thoroughly enjoyable, 5 star.

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A bit dull

I’ve loved some of the other books by Tim Marshall but this was really dull and didn’t enjoy him narrating the book. Wouldn’t recommend.

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Well done Tim

Good overview. It was a pleasure listening. Greetings from a Serbian expat in China

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Excellent. I always wondered what really happened

And now I know. well put together and very informative. good pace and kept me interested

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  • Buretto
  • 20-10-19

Hardly worth the time, nothing terribly insightful

My advice is to look closely at the summary, and don't make the mistake I made, thinking this was going to be a comprehensive account of the Yugoslav wars in the '90s. As became apparent listening (and fairly presented in the summary), it is primarily about the latter part of the conflicts, Kosovo and the subsequent political fall of Slobodan Milosevic. I had expected more about Croatia and Bosnia.

But the real problem is that there is very little of interest in the accounts. There are some inside stories and rivalries of journalists, none particularly salacious, self-aggrandizing stories of the rigors of being a war correspondent, and cynical decision-making of military and intelligence officers. But nothing terribly new or illuminating. All of which made the heavy breathing and lip-smacking of an author reading their own material less tolerable than it might have been.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Niccolo Starace
  • 18-06-22

Interesting topic, written for the writer

The book is interesting but it appears to be an effort of self-satisfied eloquence. Too many witty quips, supposedly to be funny, get in the way of the narration.
Personal opinion of course, but I found it a missed opportunity to chronicle your this dark and interesting part of our history in a more up-tempo way.

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  • RT
  • 25-05-22

Excellent Book

If you want to understand geopolitics and relationships between countries Tim Marshall is the best, and this book did not disappoint. None of my history classes ever mentioned the Balkans so all of this was new to me. Perhaps Tim Marshalls books should be history textbooks, they are more interesting and more informative.

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  • vicb
  • 09-12-21

Very interesting story, great narration.

Very interesting story, great narration. a great view into the experiences of a wartime correspondent.

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  • ANTHONY BRENNAN
  • 03-10-21

bad articulators

should have gotten a professional to narrate
this guy's vocal noises are nauseating
like listening to someone with bad table manners eat