I cannot tell you how profoundly I disagree with Janine di Giovanni’s Feb. 3 Global Opinions essay, “I can never forget the Bosnian genocide. But others are trying to rewrite history,” which was critical of Jessica Stern’s book “My War Criminal: Personal Encounters with an Architect of Genocide.” Ms. Stern spent arduous hours interviewing imprisoned Balkan war criminal Radovan Karadzic over many weeks. She amply and unambiguously documents Mr. Karadzic’s crimes and leaves no doubt that she found Mr. Karadzic a monstrous human being.

Ms. di Giovanni harshly criticized Stern for noting some of the not-unattractive human qualities that likely enabled Mr. Karadzic to inspire such malign behavior by otherwise normal people. Yet this is precisely what makes Ms. Stern’s analysis so valuable — the acknowledgment that even monsters such as Mr. Karadzic and Hitler are, in the end, mere humans. Avoiding the easy path of simply condemning, she struggles to understand how such humanity can coexist with such evil.

As someone who worked on the Balkans during my government career, I found Ms. Stern’s book one of the most riveting and insightful assessments I’ve ever read on that horrible chapter of the 20th century.

John McLaughlin, Washington

The writer is a former deputy director and acting director of the CIA.