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The End and the Beginning
The Revolutions of 1989 and the Resurgence of History

Edited by
Vladimir Tismaneanu Professor of Politics at the University of Maryland
Bogdan C. Iacob Institute for the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism and the Memory of Exile in Romania

A fresh interpretation of the contexts, meanings, and consequences of the revolutions of 1989, coupled with state of the art reassessment of the significance and consequences of the events associated with the demise of communist regimes. The book provides an analysis that takes into account the complexities of the Soviet bloc, the events’ impact upon Europe, and their re-interpretation within a larger global context. Departs from static ways of analysis (events and their significance) bringing forth approaches that deal with both pre-1989 developments and the 1989 context itself, while extensively discussing the ways of resituating 1989 in the larger context of the 20th century and of its lessons for the 21st.
Emphasizes the possibility for re-thinking and re-visiting the filters and means that scholars use to interpret such turning point. The editors perceive the present project as a challenge to existing readings on the complex set of issues and topics presupposed by a re-evaluation of 1989 as a symbol of the change and transition from authoritarianism to democracy.


Introduction: Preliminaries, Vladimir Tismaneanu, Rethinking 1989 Part One: Memories and Legacies of 1989 Gale Stokes, Purposes of the Past Agnes Heller, Twenty Years After 1989 Karol Edward Sołtan, Moderate Modernity and the Spirit of 1989 Konrad H. Jarausch, People Power? Towards a Historical Explanation of 1989 Cornel Ban, Was 1989 the End of Social Democracy? Part Two: Moving Away from the Cold War Mark Kramer, The Demise of the Soviet Bloc Vladislav Zubok, Gorbachev and the Road to 1989 Jeffrey Herf, Success Was Not an Orphan: The Battle of the Euromissiles in 1983 and the Events of 1989 to 1991 A. Ross Johnson, “No One is Afraid to Talk to Us Anymore”. Radio Free Europe in 1989 Part Three: Eastern Europe in 1989 Vladimir Tismaneanu and Bogdan Iacob, Communism and Nationalism before and after 1989 Nick Miller, Where Was the Serbian Havel? Cătălin Avramescu,Communism and the Experience of Light Electrification and Legitimization in USSR and Romania before 1989 Bradley Abrams, Buying Time: Consumption and Political Legitimization in Late-Communist Czechoslovakia Ioan T. Morar and David Morar, The Second Hat: Romanian Mass Media from Party Loudspeaker to the Voice of the Oligarchs Part Four: Aftermaths of Extraordinary Times Noemi Marin,Totalitarian Discourse and Ceaucescu’s Loss of Words: Memorializing Rhetoric in 1989 Romania Marci Shore, “A Spectre is Haunting Europe. . .”: Dissidents, Intellectuals and a New Generation Lavinia Stan, Memory, Justice and Democratization in Post-Communism A. James McAdams, Transitional Justice and the Politicization of Memory in post-1989 Europe Tom Gallagher, Incredible Voyage: Romania’s Communist Speculators Adapt and Survive After 1989 Peter Voitsekhovsky, In the Footsteps of 1989: Ukraine’s Orange Revolution as a Carnival of Anti-Politics Conclusion: Jeffrey C. Isaac, Shades of Gray: Revisiting the Meanings of 1989

* UPDATE * Read the corrected version of the chapter Buying Time: Consumption and Political Legitimization in Late-Communist Czechoslovakia by Bradley Adams (pdf)

"Many revisionist historians, particularly in Eastern Europe, in the states of the former Soviet Union and in parts of Asia, doubt the significance of 1989. Some argue that even events like the fall of the Berlin Wall or the collapse of the USSR were not genuine revolutions. The clever and well-argued introduction by the co-editor of this volume, Vladimir Tismaneanu, dismisses the argument.
There are some superb pieces here about the actual events of 1989, using recent archival material. Almost nobody in politics, the academy, in foreign policy think-tanks or the intelligence services predicted the revolutions of 1989, or their speed. Most pundits predicted
a slow, agonizing death for communism, rather like that of the Ottoman Empire. Now of course, historians say how inevitable 1989 was, that it could not have happened any other way. Those who lived through it, or witnessed it, did not believe it was inevitable. The brave people who went on the streets of Berlin and Dresden, Prague and Sofia in their hundreds of thousands to express the power of the people, were in no position to be certain that other powerful forces, with guns, would not defeat them.
In several essays here, the central role of Mikhail Gorbachev is acknowledged. Yes, We the People won. But they probably would not have done if the last Soviet leader, like his predecessors, had chosen to fight them". - International Affairs

"This collection of twenty-two chapters brings together major intellectuals and scholars, along with emerging names from a younger cohort, in order to address questions surrounding the causes, historicization, and impact of 1989. It is divided into four sections: “Memories and Legacies of 1989,” “Moving Away from the Cold War,” “Eastern Europe in 1989,” and “Aftermaths of Extraordinary Times.”
The book engages with some important debates. One of these concerns the significance of 1989 as part of global history. A number of pieces address the relationship between “top-down” and “popular” explanations for the fall of state socialism. A succession of chapters on lustration, justice, and memory make for a strong closing section to the volume. there is much to recommend: it engages in important debates, provides some provocative interventions, suggests interesting approaches to the study of 1989, and includes some effective overviews of the latest in the literature.- Slavic Review

600 pages
978-615-5053-65-8 cloth $60.00 / €45.00 / £38.00