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Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment

The Berlin Wall fell in 1989. In one of history's most miraculous occurrences, communism imploded—not with a bang, but with a whimper. Now two scholars of Eastern European and Soviet affairs revisit what happened, in this fresh, incisive look at communism's collapse.
Uncivil Society: 1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment
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Twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall fell. In one of modern history's most miraculous occurrences, communism imploded-and not with a bang, but with a whimper. Now two of the foremost scholars of East European and Soviet affairs, Stephen Kotkin and Jan T. Gross, drawing upon two decades of reflection, revisit this crash. In a crisp, concise, unsentimental narrative, they employ three case studies-East Germany, Romania, and Poland-to illuminate what led Communist regimes to surrender, or to be swept away in political bank runs. This is less a story of dissidents, so-called civil society, than of the bankruptcy of a ruling class-communism's establishment, or "uncivil society." The Communists borrowed from the West like drunken sailors to buy mass consumer goods, then were unable to pay back the hard-currency debts and so borrowed even more. In Eastern Europe, communism came to resemble a Ponzi scheme, one whose implosion carries enduring lessons. From East Germany's pseudotechnocracy to Romania's megalomaniacal dystopia, from Communist Poland's cult of Mary to the Kremlin's surprise restraint, Kotkin and Gross pull back the curtain on the fraud and decadence that cashiered the would-be alternative to the market and democracy, an outcome that opened up to a deeper global integration that has proved destabilizing.
Author
Stephen Kotkin
Publisher
Modern Library
Language
English
ISBN-10
0679642765
ISBN-13
9780679642763
Media
Book
Format
Hardcover
DEWEY
947.000
Year
2009
Publication Date
2009-10-31
Pages
197
Series
Modern Library Chronicles
Series Number
32
Illustrations
Yes
Short Title
UNCIVIL SOCIETY
Imprint
Modern Library
Subtitle
1989 and the Implosion of the Communist Establishment
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