Natasha’s Story


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News correspondent Michael Nicholson went to Sarajevo to report on the horrors of the Bosnian War, but ended up smuggling one little girl away from the carnage.

Natasha’s Story is the heart-wrenching account of how the TV reporter risked everything to bring a nine-year-old orphan home with him, and gave her a new life 1,000 miles from her native land.

The true story, which went on to become the award-winning film Welcome to Sarajevo, is both an indictment of the horror and futility of the Bosnian War and a tribute to one girl’s courage.

Brought up to date with brand-new material and recent photographs, Natasha’s Story is released as an ebook for the first time to mark the 20-year anniversary of her rescue from Sarajevo – an event that made headlines around the world.



This is not one tale but two: of Bosnia and of one of her  children. To read the one you must read the other; their stories are interwoven, their fates entwined. Natasha’s begins in besieged Sarajevo and ends in England. Bosnia’s starts with Independence and finishes in bloody oblivion. Here, then, are two stories of a land that died and of a child that was reborn.



Although rather different than the stunning and brilliant Michael Winterbottom film “Welcome to Sarajevo” this book is excellent and haunting. Nicholsen tells two stories:

One story about him and the ‘orphan’ Natasha. His struggle to get her out of the country and to adopt her. It’s heart breaking and very powerfully written.

On the other hand, there is the story of the former Yugoslavia. I read quite a few things about the subject (the history and the war), but I was stunned by some of the details described in this book.

Anybody who is interested in the subject, should read this, if only for the excellent writing style of Mr Nicholson.“5★

I am ashamed to admit that when the Balkan conflict was happening, my reaction to it was probably no more than the average person, because I did not have a personal connection to it. Years later, I married a woman who had experienced the siege of Sarajevo and that all changed, because I felt the need to better understand what Marija had gone through. I have now read many books on the siege and the Balkan conflict in general; some are highly partisan, a few are balanced and well-written, a very few are truly outstanding. This book is one of the latter.
Michael Nicholson writes with the narrative style of a man who has spent a career bringing us human-interest stories from wars in places most people have long since forgotten about. He weaves together both his own story as a journalist covering the first year of the siege of Sarajevo, and his meeting with Natasha and her friends at the orphanage, and his decision to put journalistic impartiality aside and rescue her by smuggling her out of Bosnia.
One the one hand, the story is a graphic account of the horrors of modern warfare, and especially of what happens to civilians helplessly caught up in it. Yet on the other, it is also a gripping, heart-warming tale of how one man made a difference by helping a child to survive and escape from the carnage.
The latter part of the book covers Natasha’s first few months in England with the Nicholson family, when it is not yet clear if she will be allowed to stay or if the mother who abandoned her as a baby will demand her return to Bosnia. It hints at how Natasha begins to learn English and to adjust to life in England, and the book ends on a happy note – with the Nicholson’s successful adoption of Natasha.
Yet in a sense, you know that the story does not end there. This book was written by Michael, from his perspective and that of his family. Perhaps one day, Natasha herself will write volume 2, “Natasha’s Own Story”, about what happened next… ” 5★

This heartwarming story of ITN reporter, Michael Nicholson’s rescue of Natasha, a nine-year-old orphan from war-torn Sarajevo is gripping,exciting and shocking. Absolutly enjoyable and recomended” 5★





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