Books Are Weapons: The Polish Opposition Press and the Overthrow of Communism

Books Are Weapons: The Polish Opposition Press and the Overthrow of Communism

by Siobhan Doucette


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Much attention has been given to the role of intellectual dissidents, labor, and religion in the historic overthrow of communism in Poland during the 1980s. Books Are Weapons presents the first English-language study of that which connected them—the press. Siobhan Doucette provides a comprehensive examination of the Polish opposition’s independent, often underground, press and its crucial role in the events leading to the historic Round Table and popular elections of 1989. While other studies have emphasized the role that the Solidarity movement played in bringing about civil society in 1980-1981, Doucette instead argues that the independent press was the essential binding element in the establishment of a true civil society during the mid- to late-1980s.
            Based on a thorough investigation of underground publications and interviews with important activists of the period from 1976-1989, Doucette shows how the independent press, rooted in the long Polish tradition of well-organized resistance to foreign occupation, reshaped this tradition to embrace nonviolent civil resistance while creating a network that evolved from a small group of dissidents into a broad opposition movement with cross-national ties and millions of sympathizers.  It was the galvanizing force in the resistance to communism and the rebuilding of Poland’s democratic society.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780822965022
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press
Publication date: 01/05/2018
Series: Pitt Russian East European Series
Edition description: 1
Pages: 344
Sales rank: 905,563
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Siobhan Doucette is an independent scholar with a PhD in history from Georgetown University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Translations xi

Introduction 3

1 Genesis The Summer of 1976 to the Summer of 1977 17

2 Spread The Summer of 1977 to the Summer of 1980 33

3 Tactics 1978-1979 69

4 Burst The Summer of 1980 80

5 Proliferation September 1980 to December 13, 1981 92

6 The First Solidarity National Congress, 1981 131

7 Survival Martial Law, December 1981 to July 1983 139

8 Crisis And Transition The Mid-1980s 172

9 Pluralism Late 1986 to 1988 197

10 Victory 228

Conclusion 245

Notes 257

Selected Bibliography 307

Index 319

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