Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of perestroika released new forces throughout Soviet society.
In Lithuania this process resulted in a psychological-cultural revolution. Deep-rooted feelings, long suppressed, exploded, demonstrations and mass meetings ensued, and the face of the society changed. Although at the beginning of 1988 Lithuania appeared to be one of the relatively conservative republics in the Soviet Union, by the end of the year it stood among the leaders in pushing change. By 1990, Lithuania was even forcing Moscow to respond to its initiatives for independence and economic reform.
Is Lithuania the prototype of a nation emerging from the collectivity of the Soviet Union? Alfred Erich Senn, who was present during most of this piece of history in the making, believes that it may be. He documents the dramatic events and changes in Lithuania during 1988 with the perspective of a historian and the immediacy of a participant.
The reader will easily grasp the whole spectrum of political activity in Lithuania, and the range from right to left among Lithuanian activists. And, because the Lithuanians have emerged among the leaders of change in the Soviet Union, Senn's account provides a key to later developments, in terms of both political movements and political personalities.
About the Author
Alfred Erich Senn is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of The Emergence of Modern Lithuania, as well as three other books and almost 100 articles on Lithuanian history and culture.