History of the Present: Essays, Sketches, and Dispatches from Europe in the 1990's

History of the Present: Essays, Sketches, and Dispatches from Europe in the 1990's

by Timothy Garton Ash
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0375727620

ISBN-13: 9780375727627

Pub. Date: 09/28/2001

Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The 1990s. An extraordinary decade in Europe. At its beginning, the old order collapsed along with the Berlin Wall. Everything seemed possible. Everyone hailed a brave new Europe. But no one knew what this new Europe would look like. Now we know. Most of Western Europe has launched into the unprecedented gamble of monetary union, though Britain stands aside.

Overview

The 1990s. An extraordinary decade in Europe. At its beginning, the old order collapsed along with the Berlin Wall. Everything seemed possible. Everyone hailed a brave new Europe. But no one knew what this new Europe would look like. Now we know. Most of Western Europe has launched into the unprecedented gamble of monetary union, though Britain stands aside. Germany, peacefully united, with its capital in Berlin, is again the most powerful country in Europe. The Central Europeans—Poles, Czechs, Hungarians—have made successful transitions from communism to capitalism and have joined NATO. But farther east and south, in the territories of the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia, the continent has descended into a bloody swamp of poverty, corruption, criminality, war, and bestial atrocities such as we never thought would be seen again in Europe.
        Timothy Garton Ash chronicles this formative decade through a glittering collection of essays, sketches, and dispatches written as history was being made. He joins the East Germans for their decisive vote for unification and visits their former leader in prison. He accompanies the Poles on their roller-coaster ride from dictatorship to democracy. He uncovers the motives for monetary union in Paris and Bonn. He walks in mass demonstrations in Belgrade and travels through the killing fields of Kosovo. Occasionally, he even becomes an actor in a drama he describes: debating Germany with Margaret Thatcher or the role of the intellectual with Václav Havel in Prague. Ranging from Vienna to Saint Petersburg, from Britain to Ruthenia, Garton Ash reflects on how "the single great conflict" of the cold war has been replaced by many smaller ones. And he asks what part the United States still has to play. Sometimes he takes an eagle's-eye view, considering the present attempt to unite Europe against the background of a thousand years of such efforts. But often he swoops to seize one telling human story: that of a wiry old farmer in Croatia, a newspaper editor in Warsaw, or a bitter, beautiful survivor from Sarajevo.
        His eye is sharp and ironic but always compassionate. History of the Present continues the work that Garton Ash began with his trilogy of books about Central Europe in the 1980s, combining the crafts of journalism and history. In his Introduction, he argues that we should not wait until the archives are opened before starting to write the history of our own times. Then he shows how it can be done.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780375727627
Publisher:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
09/28/2001
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
5.17(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.08(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction
Map: Europe in 1989

The Solution
Après le Déluge, Nous
The Chequers Affair
Germany Unbound
The Visit
Seven Cities
Fathers and Sons
Intellectuals and Politicians
Marta and Helena
Catching the Wrong Bus?
Cleansed Croatia
Bosnian Glimpses
Bosniain Our Future
Abnormal Normality
Forty Years On
The Serbian Tragedy
Bad Memories
Trials, Purges, and History Lessons
The Case for Liberal Order
Good-bye to Bonn
“Be Not Afraid!”
Cry, the Dismembered Country
Long Live Ruthenia!
Where Is Central Europe Now?
Helena’s Kitchen
War over Kosovo
Return to Kosovo
The Protectorate
Anarchy and Madness
Envoi

Map: Europe in 2000
Notes
Acknowledgments
Index

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