cover image Beyond Glasnost: The Post-Totalitarian Mind

Beyond Glasnost: The Post-Totalitarian Mind

Jeffrey C. Goldfarb. University of Chicago Press, $36 (275pp) ISBN 978-0-226-30097-9

Goldfarb is by no means the first Western observer to suggest that Gorbachev's glasnost may be an official attempt to co-opt oppositional stirrings within the Soviet empire. But he gives the argument a new twist by analyzing the works of Eastern European writers--George Konrad, Milan Kundera, Vaclav Havel, poet Stanislaw Baranczak, political thinker Adam Michnik and others--as a revolt against mindless conformity and subtle censorship. A sociology professor at Manhattan's New School for Social Research and author of two books on Poland, Goldfarb views totalitarianism as a repressive, life-destroying poison that penetrates nearly every nook and cranny of the social order. Readers who are able to hurdle his academic prose will gain a useful perspective on the impetus for revolution-from-below that found democratic expression in the Solidarity movement and continues to be nourished by an alternative literary culture. (May)