Eye of the Storm: Inside Eastern Europe

Article excerpt

THE RECENT East-European "Collapse of Communism" was a complex phenomenon. It involved the discrediting of an ideology and world-view, and their supporting educational system, to which millions had paid more than lip service for more than a century. It meant the unraveling of an economic network that had linked energy and raw materials, producers and consumers across two continents since World War II. It meant the dismantling of the largest military force in history. It meant the violent rejection by ordinary people of one-party politics, of a 20th-century system of government in which self-appointed visionaries controlled the past, and alone envisioned the future. And it meant the birth of freedom.

Andrew Nagorski, as Newsweek's correspondent in Eastern Europe, had a unique opportunity to explore these revolutions in the recent history of Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia. His informative and detailed account is based on interviews with the major players, Welesa, Havel, Antell, as well as countless ordinary citizens. These conversations are the heart of this engaging book.

Nagorski examines those who helped topple the system, the remarkable longevity since 1989 of former communist bosses in both politics and the economy, the ecological problems, the paradoxes of liberty for intellectuals, and religion. …