IN THE SPRING of 1992, as he headed off on his sixth peacekeeping mission, Major-General Lewis MacKenzie knew one thing: the UN was fussy about expense accounts. A $4.95 plastic-covered diary would help record what he spent. It became the source for Peacekeeper: The Road to Sarajevo (Douglas & McIntyre, 288 pages, $28.95 cloth), a book he had never envisioned writing. As chief of staff of the UN peacekeeping forces, MacKenzie's job was to help separate battle-weary Serbs and Croatians. Instead, because the UN insisted on locating his headquarters far away in Sarajevo and then recognized a hopelessly fractured Bosnia as a sovereign state, MacKenzie, his staff, and a platoon of Swedes found themselves at the heart of the most savage war Europe had seen since 194 5.
Peacekeeper is mainly MacKenzie's day-by-day account of what happened to him, his fellow peacekeepers, and occasional visitors such as France's president Francois Mitterrand, all of whom endured sniper fire, mortar bombs, death threats, and the ingenious, maddening efforts of both sides to nail UN peacekeepers as allies or enemies.
MacKenzie writes with pride of the international team of peacekeepers who shared his ordeal and accepted his risk-taking style. They included Russian, Swedish, and Kenyan colonels, a British woman Surgeon, French marine commandos, and Lieutenant Colonel Michel Jones's Vandoos, many of whom had had their patience tested at the Oka barricades in 1990. The light in this dark book is the courage of men and women in soldiers' uniforms, doing their humanitarian best.