New York Times Books of the Century
The portraits drawn by this compassionate reporter make one feel the fear weighing on people as they try to rebuild, along with the treacherous sense of comfort that entices many to evade personal responsibility for letting tyranny succeed as long as it did.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
MacArthur fellow Rosenberg's National Book Award-winning look at the uneasy transition from communism in eastern Europe. (June)
Rosenberg, the first freelance journalist to receive a MacArthur "genius" grant, has written for "The New York Times Magazine", "The New Republic", and "The New Yorker"; her first book--"Children of Cain: Violence and the Violent in Latin America" (1991)--was widely praised. In this study, Rosenberg investigates another kind of violence: the repression and coercion that were, until recently, an inescapable part of daily life for most citizens of Eastern Europe. Focusing on Czechoslovakia (now the Czech Republic and Slovakia), Germany, and Poland, Rosenberg humanizes her description of the aftermath of Communism's collapse with tales of three individuals: Rudolf Zukal, a longtime Czech dissident, denounced in 1991 as a collaborator; Wojciech Jaruzelski, the general who headed Poland after the first Solidarity uprising; and Michael Schmidt, an East German border guard who was tried, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, for killing the last person who attempted to escape to the West. Rosenberg compares totalitarianism in Latin America and Eastern Europe, suggesting that trials and punishment are vital for Latin America's "regimes of criminals" but are clumsy tools at best in coming to terms with Eastern Europe's "criminal regimes," which drew most citizens into their operations. A provocative study of a critical component in building the world's newest democracies.
From the Publisher
"Tina Rosenberg has traveled around the ruins of a fallen empire and she has returned with astonishing tales of human memory and struggle. The Haunted Land is the best portrait of post-imperial Eastern Europe around."David Remnick, author of Lenin's Tomb
"Brilliant and impassioned... The definitive account of what the transition away from communism in Eastern Europe has meant in moral terms."David Rieff, Los Angeles Times Book Review