Twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall fell. In one of modern history’s most miraculous occurrences, communism imploded–and not with a bang, but with a whimper. Now two of the foremost scholars of East European and Soviet affairs, Stephen Kotkin and Jan T. Gross, drawing upon two decades of reflection, revisit this crash. In a crisp, concise, unsentimental narrative, they employ three case studies–East Germany, Romania, and Poland–to illuminate what led Communist regimes to surrender, or to be swept away in political bank runs. This is less a story of dissidents, so-called civil society, than of the bankruptcy of a ruling class–communism’s establishment, or “uncivil society.” The Communists borrowed from the West like drunken sailors to buy mass consumer goods, then were unable to pay back the hard-currency debts and so borrowed even more. In Eastern Europe, communism came to resemble a Ponzi scheme, one whose implosion carries enduring lessons. From East Germany’s pseudotechnocracy to Romania’s megalomaniacal dystopia, from Communist Poland’s cult of Mary to the Kremlin’s surprise restraint, Kotkin and Gross pull back the curtain on the fraud and decadence that cashiered the would-be alternative to the market and democracy, an outcome that opened up to a deeper global integration that has proved destabilizing.
From the Hardcover edition.
See more like this in our History eBooks section
Share your thoughts on the Uncivil Society History eBook with others!
|Title of History eBook: Uncivil Society|
|Release Date: 10-06-2009|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
This eBook download is available in the following formats:
|Parent title||Uncivil Society|
|Devices||Samsung Tablet, Apple Ipad & Iphone, Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo eReader, Aluratek Libre, Iliad, Nokia, Blackberry, Hanlin|
|Note||ePub, short for electronic publication is one of our favorites and should be yours for a couple of reasons. ePub offers reflowable text giving you flexibility to manipulate how the content is presented. Moreover, lots of cool features are now being developed for the reader like advanced video and audio. ePub is now an industry standard, so all of the "non-propreitary" hardware manufacturers are now supporting it.|
“How did you go bankrupt?
” “Two ways. Gradually and then suddenly.” —Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises
The wry Romanian film A fost sau n- a fost? (2006), known in En - glish as 12:08 East of Bucharest, poses a seemingly passe question: Was there or was there not—“A fost sau n- a fost?”—a revolution in 1989? Most of the film takes place at a desk, as an on- air discussion inside a television studio. (It is often said that Romania’s 1989 events took place mostly on TV.) The pompous host (who is given to quoting Herodotus) is called Virgil Jderescu, a provincial TV station owner whose talk show is called Issue of the Day. This particular day is December 22, 2005, and the issue is what happened on the same date sixteen years earlier. After some potential panelists bow out, Jderescu goes live with a debt- ridden, alcoholic history teacher named Tiberiu M∫nescu and a grumpy, lonely pensioner named Emanoil Piscoci who dresses up as Santa Claus for children. The telecast backdrop shows the live image of a drab, unnamed Stalinist- style wide town square (thought to be Vaslui, the eastern Romanian hometown of the film’s director, Corneliu Porumboiu). The film’s nonaction is riveting: three men sitting in chairs. Jderescu keeps asking “Was there, or was there not, a revolution in our town?” M∫nescu recounts how on December 22, 1989, he had gone to their town square with three other teachers—conveniently, two are now dead and one departed for Canada—before 12:08 p.m...