By Gale Stokes
The revolutions of 1989 in Eastern Europe made it possible for people who had always considered themselves part of the European mainstream to reemerge from two generations of Communist separation. At the same time, however, the war in the former Yugoslavia threw doubt on the stability of the region. In Three Eras of Political Change in Eastern Europe, Gale Stokes, a noted specialist on the history of Eastern Europe and Yugoslavia, covers a broad range of topics, including the revolutions of 1989. The first section of the text describes the historical sources of the regions distinctiveness. Part two illuminates the background of the 1990s crisis in Yugoslavia and the final section discusses the conditions of Eastern Europe after 1945. Because the text is broken into three interrelated parts, instructors are able to choose the sections that are most appropriate for their courses. Stokes discusses the social determinants of East European politics, but argues that ideas were more important in the revolutions of 1989. These interpretations, along with his optimistic assessment of the regions future, are sure to provoke debate. Clear and concise, these articles are both wide-ranging and cross-cultural, giving students not only an overall historical view of the region, but also a glimpse into more recent events as well. The scope and penetration of the essays, along with their challenging viewpoints, are sure to engage undergraduates and scholars studying Eastern European history and international politics.