With this book Professor Minton Goldman has performed a timely and useful service for teachers, scholars, and students of Central and Eastern Europe. The wide-ranging changes recently set in motion in this historically rich region of over 100 million people between Western Europe and Russia constitute the latest significant example of decolonization, albeit of a special variety, of a large area of the world. Long under either foreign rule or forced outside influence, the twelve countries of Mitteleuropa ( Middle Europe) are now embarked on the difficult course of potential five-sided or quintuple transformation on the new historical tide flowing from the failure of communism and the breakup of the Soviet Union. The transition now facing the area has five main aspects: attitudinal and cultural, societal, political, economic, and diplomatic. This is a high number of "transition challenges" to face at one time. The so-called developing countries or "Third World," on whose experience most of our scholarship on political and economic development is based, did not have to cope with the powerful and limiting after-effects of communism as they underwent development, nor did they have to re-establish private enterprise. Even the most traditional countries possess private enterprise, however basic in nature. Not so some ex-communist countries. As Goldman correctly says, "Communism had distorted everything it touched." (p. 51.) Accordingly, post-communist change is a very special and highly difficult, and problematic, challenge. Yet the challenge and its outcome are crucially important, not only for Central Europe itself, but also for Western Europe, Russia, and the United States as well as for international relations. Twice in this century world wars engulfed the region and brought the world's major powers into either deadly conflict or close and even desperate alliance. And today the attempt to stop the internecine war in Bosnia and prevent its escalation is but another indication of the continuing importance of Central Europe for world politics and the major powers.