In the late summer of 1989, I received a call from my New School colleague David Gordon. As the organizer of our General Seminar for the coming academic year, he asked me to present a paper. Since its founding in 1933 as The University in Exile, such presentations have been recurring responsibilities of the New School's Graduate Faculty. The faculty comes together once a month to talk about each other's work. David knew I had just published a book on the political culture of the Soviet bloc and thought it would be timely to discuss the issue. I agreed. This book is an extension of that agreement.
Little did I realize the challenge I had agreed to take on. I had assumed I would simply reshape a chapter from Beyond Glasnost. The Post-Totalitarian Mind and discuss it with my colleagues in a normal academic fashion. Instead, I found I had committed myself to the project of trying to understand the most dramatic