The Final Revolution: The Resistance Church and the Collapse of Communism / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from
(Save 36%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $4.99
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 89%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (18) from $4.99   
  • New (6) from $26.88   
  • Used (12) from $2.98   


The collapse of communism in central and eastern Europe—the Revolution of 1989—was a singularly stunning event in a century already known for the unexpected. How did people divided for two generations by an Iron Curtain come so suddenly to dance together atop the Berlin Wall? Why did people who had once seemed resigned to their fate suddenly take their future into their own hands? Some analysts have explained the Revolution in economic terms, arguing that the Warsaw Pact countries could no longer compete with the West. But as George Weigel argues in this thought-provoking volume, people don't put their lives, and their children's futures, in harm's way simply for better cars, refrigerators, and TVs. Something else—something more—had to happen behind the iron curtain before the Wall came tumbling down.
In The Final Revolution, Weigel argues that that "something" was a revolution of conscience. The human turn to the good, to the truly human, and, ultimately, to God, was the key to the political Revolution of 1989. Weigel provides an in-depth exploration of how the Catholic Church shaped the moral revolution inside the political revolution. Drawing on extensive interviews with key leaders of the human rights and resistance movements, he opens a unique window into the soul of the Revolution and into the hearts and minds of those who shaped this stirring vindication of the human spirit. Weigel also examines the central role played by Pope John Paul II in confronting what Václav Havel called communism's "culture of the lie," and he suggests what the future role of the Church might be in consolidating democracy in the countries of the old Warsaw Pact.
The "final revolution" is not the end of history, Weigel concludes. It is the human quest for a freedom that truly satisfies the deepest yearnings of the human heart. The Final Revolution illustrates how that quest changed the face of the twentieth century and redefined world politics in the year of miracles, 1989.

A noted Catholic thinker says that the collapse of Communism resulted from a revolution of conscience--the human turn to God. Weigel provides an in-depth exploration of how the Catholic Church shaped the moral revolution inside the political revolution and draws on extensive interviews with key leaders of the human rights and resistance movements. 35 halftones.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An incisive historical reconstruction that is as spiritually uplifting as it is politically significant."—Zbigniew Brzezinski

"George Weigel's analysis of the 1989 revolution in Central and Eastern Europe offers evidence that it was the power of nonviolent force and citizens' conscience, not the guns and bombs of warfare, that ended Sovietism."—Washington Post Book World

"An extremely interesting, important contribution to the greatest mystery of the century: how Communism collapsed and 'who done it.'"—Jeane Kirkpatrick

"Argues the primacy of the spirit."—The Washington Times

"If a disconsolate KGB agent were looking for an explanation as to why Communism fell apart so fast, he would probably turn first to the Vatican and to the first Polish Pope. George Weigel has done some very useful sleuthing to help us figure out how something of a miracle was actually pulled off."—E.J. Dionne, Jr.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``What Lenin started at Petrograd's Finland Station on April 16, 1917 . . . Pope John Paul II began to dismantle . . . on June 4, 1979'' with his celebration of the first pontifical Mass in a Communist country, an event Weigel Peace and Freedom views as the fulcrum of the Revolution of 1989. Quoting the likes of Polish Jewish dissident Adam Michnik to augment his thesis that the pope's 1979 visit to Poland was a ``national plebiscite'' which coalesced the ``we'' of society against ``them,'' Weigel argues that that pilgrimage was the turning point in the confrontation between Communism and Catholicism which he deems one of the great ideological and institutional struggles of the century. Disappointingly, he is more proselytizer than historian as he tracks the Vatican's ost pol i tik with the Kremlin going back to Pius XI, a significant subject that has yet to be comprehensively addressed. Most controversial are Weigel's defense of the Church's pro-life position on abortion and his criticism of the international peace movement for focusing on nuclear weapons rather than on human rights. Concentrating on Poland, with minor coverage of Czechoslovakia, Weigel recreates many stirring occasions, such as the ``Great Novena'' of 1957-1966 when the Church toured the frame of the revered Black Madonna in every parish instead of the icon itself, as planned, because the government kept that under house arrest at Czestochowa the author does not explain why the Church was not forbidden to tour the frame as well. The novena ushered in the millennium celebration of Polish Christianity, a celebration the regime denied Pope Paul VI a visa to attend. Nov.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195166644
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/28/2003
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

George Weigel is President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington D.C. A graduate of St. Mary's Seminary and University of Baltimore and the University of St. Michael's College in Toronto, he is the author of editor of twelve books on religion and public life, and is in frequent demand as a lecturer, columnist, and media commentator on American politics, foreign policy, and Catholic affairs.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Final Revolution 3
1 Not by Politics Alone: Unwrapping the Revolution of 1989 15
2 Calling Good and Evil by Name: The Communist Lie Confronted 37
3 Catholics and Commissars: 1917-1978 59
4 The Wojtyla Difference 77
5 Poland: Igniting the Revolution 103
6 Czechoslovakia: A Church Reborn in Resistance 159
7 No Monopolies on Virtue: Christian Conviction and the Democratic Prospect 191
Notes 211
Index 247
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)