Kiss the Hand You Cannot Bite: The Rise and Fall of the Ceausescus

Edward Behr, Author, P. Gethers, Editor Villard Books $22.5 (0p) ISBN 978-0-679-40128-5
Behr's probing analysis of the historical roots of the Ceausescu dictatorship in Romania goes a long way toward explaining the pathological behavior characterizing the rule of ``the communist Dracula'' and why his regime endured. ``A man like me,'' Nicolae Ceausescu boasted, ``comes along only once every five hundred years.'' Behr ( Hirohito ) makes clear what manner of man Ceausescu was, how he ruled his country and the important role his wife, Elena, played in the regime. The picture that comes into focus is that of an evil-minded, paranoid and petty couple, at once canny and stupid, who relied on a huge state security apparatus, the Securitate , to spread fear among their extraordinarily submissive subjects. The book includes a full account of the popular uprising in December 1989 and the arrest, trial and execution of the Ceausescus. Behr notes that the bulk of the officers and officials of the Securitate remain in place; thus the dead ``Dracula'' continues to cast his shadow over the land. This is a rare close look at one of the most grotesque of the Communist personality cults. Photos. (May)
Reviewed on: 04/29/1991
Release date: 05/01/1991
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