1989: The Struggle to Create Post-Cold War EuropeMary Elise Sarotte
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Sarotte's focus is on Germany... [She] describes a host of competing conceptions of post-cold-war Europe that flourished, mutated and perished in the maelstrom of events that led up to German unity... Two decades later ... [t]here are still nuclear missiles aimed across the continent. It's hard to imagine that it could have been otherwise—but, Sarotte shows us, it could have been. — Paul Hockenos, New York Times Book Review A great virtue of Mary Elise Sarotte's 1989 is that she makes the problem of hindsight bias explicit, and systematically explores the roads not taken. — Timothy Garton Ash, New York Review of Books Much the most exciting of these books is Mary Elise Sarotte's 1989. In contrast to the other authors, Sarotte treats the uprisings and collapses of that year as a prelude to the biggest change of all: 'the struggle to create post-Cold War Europe', as her subtitle puts it... Sarottte [is] a lucid and compelling writer. — Neal Ascherson, London Review of Books The author embeds her interpretation in a sharp-eyed, fluent narrative of 1989-1990 that sees the realpolitik behind the stirring upheavals... [S]he offers a smart and canny analysis of the birth of our not-so-new world order. — Publishers Weekly Mary Elise Sarotte's 1989 ... shows why this post-Cold War world, and not a different one, came out of the dramatic events of 1989, and why the result was bound to pit the U.S. against Russia again in the twenty-first century. — George Packer, NewYorker.com A hugely impressive study that looks beyond 1989 to the many-faceted battle to shape the new Europe. — Gerard DeGroot, Washington Post Sarotte's book is compact and highly interpretive. Yet Sarotte has thoroughly mastered the original source material in all the key countries. She distills it with great skill, constantly enlivening her account with a sensibility for what these changes meant in life and culture. Hers is now the best one-volume work on Germany's unification available. It contains the clearest understanding to date of the extraordinary juggling performance of Kohl. — Philip D. Zelikow, Foreign Affairs [A] scrupulous account of the high politics and diplomacy of 1989. With remarkable diligence, [Sarotte] has interviewed almost all the surviving participants, and quarried government archives and other libraries for documents that illustrate the decision-making (and lack of it) that year. The result is a tale of hypocrisy and indecision in high places. — Economist The tragic hero of 1989, for Sarotte, is Gorbachev. He was, and is still seen by many Russians as a King Lear figure: a man prepared to give away what he should have retained to a west bent on extracting as much as possible from the Soviet collapse—under the cover of honeyed words and rhetoric of a new age. — John Lloyd, Financial Times  is a work of coruscating intelligence and inspired scholarship that brims with provocative conclusions, well-argued and documented. It will appeal to casual readers and scholars alike who want to revisit how history turned on its hinges 20 years ago. — Mike Leary, Philadelphia Inquirer Sarotte's readable and reliable diplomatic history will no doubt take its place as the classic overview of this period. It is sensible, balanced, and well documented, drawing on what is now an extensive international body of primary and secondary sources. — Andrew Moravcsik, Foreign Affairs Your humble blogger's all-time favorite historian, Mary Elise Sarotte, has just published her magnum opus, 1989, about the fall of the Berlin Wall and the year of diplomacy that led to a reunified Germany ensconced within NATO and the European Union. — Dan Drezner, Foreign Policy blog Mary Sarotte's 1989, shows how the Wall's opening was not planned but was the immediate consequence of a bungled press conference by an East German official. — Mitchell Cohen, Dissent [A] fresh analysis of the year's events and their after-effects. — Megan O'Grady, Vogue.com [A] truly great book... [A] whodunit of world politics that uses sources from Germany, the USA, Russia and other countries to reveal both the details and the drama of the year of German unification in an unprecedented fashion. — Stefan Kornelius, Sddeutsche Zeitung This is a cracker of a read, a fast-paced policy study of a year that transformed Europe and the world. Mary Elise Sarotte sets out how fairly standard politicians saw the chance to extend democracy and the market economy throughout the Soviet empire and took it...This is a book for everybody who understands that politics is the application of policy and, when done well, can transform the world for the better. — Australian Sarotte has a good feel for the internal politics of all four external powers which, as a result of the 1945 settlement, had a continuing stake in Berlin and the broader issue of Germany's fate. But she is especially good on Germany. — Archie Brown, History Today 'On November 9, 1989, the Berlin Wall opened and the world changed.' With this simple statement, Sarotte begins her timely, highly readable book in which she revisits the remarkable events in Europe between November 1989 and the end of 1990, with a focus on Germany... Stimulating reading for a general audience, students, and faculty/researchers. — Choice Sarotte's outstanding book shows that Europe's prefab post-1989 order was a messy improvisation, but at no point during the collapse of communism did conditions favourable to the alternatives cohere. — Richard Gowan, International Journal  is widely and deeply-researched, gracefully written, and admirably concise. I especially liked the author's ability to express the human dimensions of her story by combining an analysis of big issues and long range trends with carefully-chosen vignettes and contemporary quotations. The book is full of astute and totally convincing judgments. — James Sheehan, H-Diplo Roundtable Reviews This book sets the record straight on several issues [and] popular misconceptions and exposes the truth behind the positions of the major players. It is a valuable book that helps understand the international political power play. — Vaidehi Nathan, Organiser Sarotte's book ... conveys a much-needed appreciation that history, even at its hinges, is anything but simple. — William W. Finan, Current History Mary Elise Sarotte has produced a first-rate scholarly book. It is thoroughly researched, well written, intelligent, and full of interesting vignettes that complement the larger story she tells. — Michael Bernhard, American Historical Review Mary Elise Sarotte's ... lucid and thoughtful book ... very effectively combines a detailed historical narrative with a conceptual framework which clarifies the significance of what happened, and of what failed to happen. — Roger Morgan, International Affairs The prose and style are lucid...  is valuable to students, academics and general readers alike in learning more about these epochal happenings... [T]his is an excellent work which is likely to become a key text for this period. — Alex Spelling, Diplomacy and Statecraft [T]his book truly underscores the necessity of entering a post-triumphalist phase in writing the history of what came after the Wall came down. This book provides a wonderful example of how an enlightened diplomatic history can contribute to this endeavor. — Andreas W. Daum, Central European History
Winner of Marshall Shulman Book Prize 2010.
Runner-up for Choice Magazine Outstanding Reference/Academic Book Award 2010.