II. The hatreds they aroused, though notrnancient, were easily rekindled.rnHe identifies the decentralizing constitutionrnof 1974 as a contributing factorrnin the country’s dissolution; it made thernfederal government virtually impotentrnand unable to govern. Unfortunately, hernreflects on the point almost as an aside,rnas if to show he has read and agrees withrnSusan Woodward’s Balkan Tragedy.rnWhat he does state categorically, however,rnis that “the prime agent of Yugoslavia’srndestruction was SlobodanrnMilosevic” with assistance from FranjornTudjman. History is filled with imperfectrnplayers, and to put the blame for Yugoslavia’srndemise on two individuals,rnthough as a device it might work in arnShakespearean play, is naive. And whilernthe collapse of a country can be laid tornthe faults of its inhabitants, we read (onernwould hope) the ambassador’s book notrnto marvel at the failings of the southrnSlavs but to learn something aboutrnAmerican foreign policy: how the UnitedrnStates behaves under certain circumstances,rnand how it should behave.rnOur policy in those days assumed that,rnfor the benefit of its inhabitants, and forrnthe peace and security of Europe, Yugoslaviarnshould remain one country.rnMost Yugoslavs agreed. The author, forrnone, was convinced that unity andrndemocracy had to go together, but hernfeared that unity meant coercive Serbianrnhegemony, with a loss of democracy inrnother republics. Encouraging democracyrnin Slovenia and Croatia, he felt, wouldrnmean the breakup of the country, andrnpossible war. Our policy, then, becamernone of hoping for the best while watchingrnfrom the sidelines. Most disturbingrnwas America’s lack of vision during theserncritical years: our inability to see beyondrnthe present, and our passivity in the facernof dangerous developments.rnOne could say that, given the risingrntensions within Yugoslavia, dissolutionrnwas inevitable. One could also say that,rngiven the economic limitations of suchrnsmall entities as the six republics, whichrnare bound to provoke popular discontent,rnsome sort of union is inevitable. AsrnZimmermann predicted, civil war followedrnthe declarations of independence.rnWith the commencement of hostilitiesrnthe ambassador’s position was completelyrnreversed. When the YugoslavrnNational Army began shelling Croatianrncities, he called for armed intervention.rnThis was in sharp contrast to his beliefrnwhile still in Washington that with thernending of the Cold War Yugoslavia’srnimportance had diminished, that thernUnited States would not fight to preservernYugoslav unity. He was also, of course,rnamong the first to call for armed interventionrnin Bosnia.rnThese paradoxes of policy (the unityrnof Yugoslavia is not worth fighting for,rnthe unity of Croatia is; it is legitimate forrnBosnia to secede from Yugoslavia, butrnnot for Serbian areas to secede fromrnBosnia) go unexplained, even unnoticed,rnand in the book much goes unexplained.rnActions proceed from unarticulatedrnassumptions. There is an underlyingrnnaivete about the account that is highlyrnunsettling.rnThe demise of Yugoslavia was a lowrnpoint in international diplomacy, bothrnEuropean and American. It is difficult,rnand possibly unfair, to say that we couldrnhave done better; but it is even more difficultrnto say we could have done worse,rnSol Schindler is a retired Foreign ServicernOfficer who writes and lectures on internationalrnrelations.rnTo the LighthousernbyLoxleyF. NicholsrnThe Fennel Family Papersrnby William BaldwinrnChapel Hill: Algonquin Books;rn284 pp., $19.95rnWhen Camilla, the elderly spinsterrndaughter of the infamous CaptainrnJack Fennel and matriarch of thernFennel family, sees her house guest holdingrnan antique spyglass, she comments,rn”My father’s glass. Dr. Danvers. Are yournplanning a voyage?” Actually, the voyagernis already underway for the young historyrnprofessor who shows symptoms of seasicknessrnthe moment he steps into thernFennel house. In this house that is literallyrna land ship, constructed “every postrnand lintel” from the debris of shipwrecksrnoff Dog Tooth Shoal, everything is awryrnfrom the wavy floors and unplumbedrnjoints to the ideas and actions of therneccentric Fennels. Upon discoveringrnthat Ginny Fennel, a student in his class,rnis a descendant of the illustrious Fennels,rnPaul Danvers sets out to gain tenure byrnusing the girl to get to and publish thernprivate family papers. However, when hernactually arrives in Port Ulacca, SouthrnCarolina, to examine the logbooks of thisrnfamily of lighthouse keepers, his travelsrntake him on a journey through time andrnexperience that is quite different fromrnwhat he had anticipated.rnLike The Hard to Catch Mercy, Mr.rnBaldwin’s previous novel which won thernWilliam Smith Award in 1993, The FennelrnFamily Papers is an initiation story.rnAlthough Paul Danvers has been awardedrnhis doctorate and is teaching historyrnat the state university, he is illiterate, immature,rnand insubstantial—a mere ghostrnof a man. Ignorant, inexperienced, andrninept, Paul Danvers embodies the worstrnof what we think about college professors.rnA textbook example of “those whorncan’t,” it is only Paul’s utter dissociationrnfrom everything and everyone, and hisrnacute awareness of his deficiencies, thatrnrender him salvageable.rnAt the onset of his week with the Fennels,rnPaul is impervious to beauty and ignorantrnof violence. He does not recognize,rnnor does he know how to respondrnto, Camilla’s recitation of Wordsworth,rnand he cannot fathom Cinny’s mother’srnlove for her flower garden. As unsteadyrnas he is inside this house, Paul feels morerncomfortable indoors than out, and hernis no less than horrified when asked tornhelp with the slaughter of a chicken forrnsupper:rnThe idea that they would eat anrnanimal that was at that very momentrnalive and running in the backrnyard made him uneasy.rn’You thought chickens came fromrnmeat counters, didn’t you?’rnPaul shook his head no, but she wasrnright—he did.rnTerrorized by the witchcraft of Da Bena,rnthe family cook, and brutalized at thernhands of Leroy Ramona, Cinny’s homicidalrnuncle, Paul suffers damage to bothrnhis physical and sartorial person—therntweed jacket with chamois elbow patches,rnthe flannel trousers, the pipe arc destroyedrnor discarded one by one, as hisrnhands, feet, and eyes sustain variousrnbreaks and lacerations. Acute physicalrnand emotional suffering, however, is forrnPaul ultimately benevolent and evenrnnecessary. For what he loses is irrelevantrnor false, and what he gains is courage,rninsight, and wisdom. Goaded past irritationrnhe discovers for the first time truernanger and laughter; stripped of affecta-rnJANUARY 1997/35rnrnrn