Lighting the Night: Revolution in Eastern Europe

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Echikson has covered Eastern Europe for five years, first for the Christian Science Monitor and currently for the Wall Street Journal. Political and cultural reporting at its best, the book examines the people and social forces that have hastened communism's collapse in the former Soviet empire. Echikson talked with alienated workers, threatened apparatchiks, defiant students scornful of a hypocritical system; concern with how to dismantle the Party was widespread. He looks at the renewed pull of nationalism, fear of resurgent anti-Semitism, mounting anger over a polluted environment. Including interviews with Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa and Solidarity activist Bronislaw Geremek, this report highlights the particularities of each country as well as their common problems in breaking the communist monopoly of power. Photos. (Oct.)
Library Journal
Echikson was The Christian Science Monitor 's correspondent in Eastern Europe during the mid- to late-1980s; this book is drawn from that reporting. It is an effort to do what so many journalists do--that is, to use personal encounters as a fabric on which to stitch broader social observations. He first provides thumbnail histories (such as ``The Landscape''), then deals with social strata and groups who were political actors in 1989-90. In both cases, deft portraits of the named and unnamed energize Echikson's prose. He does much less well when he tries to be a social scientist; recounting personal tales does not suffice for analysis of processes affecting nation-states. While better than Elie Abel's The Shattered Bloc ( LJ 5/1/90) on many accounts, this volume is still no match for a serious study such as James Brown's Surge to Freedom (Duke Univ. Pr. 1988), whose update is expected for the spring of 1991.--Daniel Nelson, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, D.C.
School Library Journal
YA-- In this well-written, insightful work, Echikson analyzes the revolutions in Eastern Europe, taking into account the similarities and differences in each society that influenced its respective country's road to democratization. The book is divided into a narrative of the events in each country, followed by chapters on the roles of various segments of its society--the students, the intellectuals, the military, the Communist bureaucrats, the Jews--in influencing the outcome. It concludes with a review of the causes and effects of the revolution, highlighting the roles of Soviet glasnost , the democratic movements, and the economic problems in fomenting the unrest as well as charting some of the movement's less desirable consequences. Weaving various strands into a seamless whole, Echikson provides easy and informative reading.-- Richard Lisker, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780688092009
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/28/1990
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 352

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