The Birth of Freedom: Shaping Lives and Societies in the New Eastern Europe

Andrew Nagorski, Author Simon & Schuster $22.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-78225-2
Nagorski, Newsweek 's Eastern European correspondent, a Polish-American who lives in Warsaw, is an extremely knowledgeable, perceptive, informative guide through post-communist Mitteleuropa. Focusing on Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland--and peripherally on Germany, Slovakia and Ukraine--he tracks the opening chapter and background of a still unfolding story. Nagorski shows us myriad debilitating effects of communist governance on the subjugated, the erosion of their respect for law, the demeaning of their self-esteem, personal integrity and sense of mutual responsibility. As a result, the transition to freedom and a market economy continue to prove troubled, he observes, and inevitably the deprived populace disregard warnings about the spiritual dangers of Western consumerism, even when voiced by the much-respected Pope and by Vaclav Havel. Still, the initial mania is receding, Nagorski finds, and the ``New Europeans'' are becoming less adulatory of all things Western. He updates us on the Catholic Church's waning influence in Poland, the spread of pluralism throughout the region, the crippled situation in the unfunded arts, the revolution in education. As people struggle to purge the old system, a healing is ``perhaps probable,'' Nagorski concludes, although, he also cautions, ``nothing is inevitable or necessarily irreversible.'' (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1993
Release date: 09/01/1993
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-1-4391-5426-7
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