Cover image for The magic lantern : the revolution of '89 witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague
The magic lantern : the revolution of '89 witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague
Garton Ash, Timothy.
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Publication Information:
New York : Random House, 1990.
Physical Description:
156 pages ; 22 cm
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DJK50 .G35 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Author Notes

Timothy Garton Ash is a fellow of St. Anthony's College, Oxford, and of the Hoover Institution, Stanford.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Garton Ash (Oxford University, UK) has written a lively, first-hand account of the momentous changes that took place in 1989 in Poland, Hungary, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia. As an historian, he draws some insightful conclusions about the relationship between this transformation and broader patterns of European history. For example, he sees the largely nonviolent, idea-centered Revolution of 1848 as most similar to the series of events that took place in 1989. For the author, those recent events constituted a "refolution" or combination of reform and revolution. He contends that the visit of the Pope to Poland in June 1979 was the catalytic factor that made possible the developments of 1989. From his vantage point, key symbolic events include the June 4 elections that brought a noncommunist government to power in Poland, the June 16 reburial of former Hungarian opposition leader Imre Nagy, and the November 9 opening of the Berlin Wall. With respect to Czechoslovakia, Ash argues that negotiations led by Vaclav Havel in the Magic Lantern Theatre led to a rapid refolution because accomplishments in the other three countries constituted an inspiring model. The author concludes on a note of tempered optimism with regard to the future of the region. He believes that the social solidarity of the peoples is stronger than disruptive nationalism. The book should be read with more formal academic studies of the region. -J. W. Peterson, Valdosta State College