The Walls Came Tumbling Down: The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe [NOOK Book]

Overview

Gale Stokes' The Walls Came Tumbling Down has been one of the standard interpretations of the East European revolutions of 1989 for many years. It offers a sweeping yet vivid narrative of the two decades of developments that led from the Prague Spring of 1968 to the collapse of communism in 1989. Highlights of that narrative include, among other things, discussions of Solidarity and civil society in Poland, Charter 77 and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, and the bizarre regime of Romania's Nikolae ...
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The Walls Came Tumbling Down: The Collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe

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Overview

Gale Stokes' The Walls Came Tumbling Down has been one of the standard interpretations of the East European revolutions of 1989 for many years. It offers a sweeping yet vivid narrative of the two decades of developments that led from the Prague Spring of 1968 to the collapse of communism in 1989. Highlights of that narrative include, among other things, discussions of Solidarity and civil society in Poland, Charter 77 and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, and the bizarre regime of Romania's Nikolae Ceausescu and his violent downfall. In this second edition, now appropriately subtitled Collapse and Rebirth in Eastern Europe, Stokes not only has revised these portions of the book in the light of recent scholarship, but has added three new chapters covering the post-communist period, including analyses of the unification of Germany and the collapse of the Soviet Union, narratives of the admission of many of the countries of the region to the European Union, and discussion of the unfortunate outcomes of the Wars of Yugoslav Succession in the Western Balkans.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Stokes (history, Rice U.) provides a clear narrative and a balanced analysis of the history and events that led up to the East European revolutions of 1989, from the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 through the elections of 1989 and the most recent events. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Kirkus Reviews
Authoritative, cogent, and compelling account of the upheavals in Eastern Europe. Stokes (History/Rice; Politics as Development, 1990, etc.—not reviewed) blends meticulous research and narrative drive, covering Communism's weary decline after 1968 with an epic sweep that takes in not only such expected landmarks as the Prague Spring, the birth of Solidarity, and the entrance of Mikhail Gorbachev, but also myriad telltale incidents of tension and dissension from Budapest to Bucharest. The author renders a full and damning account of Communism's economic failure, but he steers clear of economic determinism, treating economic collapse as a necessary but insufficient cause for the political earthquake. Ideology is the real battleground here, its heroes the leading figures of the late 70's dissident movements—both celebrated figures like Havel, Walesa, and Adam Michnik, and less familiar ones like the Bulgarian poet Blaga Dimitrova. These humanist "antipoliticians" confronted their oppressors' moral and political bankruptcy with their own efforts to "live in truth" (Havel's term)—to recover the cultural integrity of their countries in the creation of a parallel civil society that, when the moment came, was ready to accept the mantle of legitimacy. Stokes recounts these dissident struggles with obvious admiration, yet always objectively, and with an eye for the telling detail or the grimly humorous—such as abandoned Trabant automobiles "spring[ing] up each morning like mushrooms" in summer 1989 on Eastern European streets, discarded by their asylum-seeking East German owners. The author discerns a grand historical narrative, too—the eventual victory of enlighteneddemocratic pluralism in a three-cornered ideological contest with "antirationalism" (fascism) and "hyperrationalism" (Stalinism). But there's no trite cold war triumphalism here—a bleak and cautionary last chapter describing Yugoslavia's plummet into bloody civil war is a reminder that, throughout Europe, the lifting of Communism has also unleashed atavistic nationalist passions that could yet imperil freedom. With magisterial command, Stokes does full justice to his momentous subject.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199879199
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 10/7/1993
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Gale Stokes is past Dean of Humanities, Chair of the History Department, and a three-time winner of the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching at Rice University. He is the author of several books, including From Stalinism to Pluralism: A Documentary History of Eastern Europe Since 1945, Second Edition, (OUP, 1996) and Three Eras of Political Change in Eastern Europe (OUP, 1996).

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1 The New Opposition: Antipolitics and Solidarity 12
2 The Gang of Four and Their Nemesis 46
3 The Momentum of Change in Hungary 78
4 Solidarity: The Return of the Repressed in Poland 102
5 The Glorious Revolutions of 1989 131
6 1990 and 1991: The First Two Years of a Long Time 168
7 The Devil's Finger: The Disintegration of Yugoslavia 218
8 Epilogue and Prologue: The New Pluralism 253
Notes 261
Index 305
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