A Carnival of Revolution: Central Europe 1989

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Princeton University Press, 2003 - History - 341 pages
5 Reviews

This is the first history of the revolutions that toppled communism in Europe to look behind the scenes at the grassroots movements that made those revolutions happen. It looks for answers not in the salons of power brokers and famed intellectuals, not in decrepit economies--but in the whirlwind of activity that stirred so crucially, unstoppably, on the street. Melding his experience in Solidarity-era Poland with the sensibility of a historian, Padraic Kenney takes us into the hearts and minds of those revolutionaries across much of Central Europe who have since faded namelessly back into everyday life. This is a riveting story of musicians, artists, and guerrilla theater collectives subverting traditions and state power; a story of youthful social movements emerging in the 1980s in Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and parts of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union.

Kenney argues that these movements were active well before glasnost. Some protested military or environmental policy. Others sought to revive national traditions or to help those at the margins of society. Many crossed forbidden borders to meet their counterparts in neighboring countries. They all conquered fear and apathy to bring people out into the streets. The result was a revolution unlike any other before: nonviolent, exuberant, even light-hearted, but also with a relentless political focus--a revolution that leapt from country to country in the exciting events of 1988 and 1989.

A Carnival of Revolution resounds with the atmosphere of those turbulent years: the daring of new movements, the unpredictability of street demonstrations, and the hopes and regrets of the young participants. A vivid photo-essay complements engaging prose to fully capture the drama. Based on over two hundred interviews in twelve countries, and drawing on samizdat and other writings in six languages, this is among the most insightful and compelling accounts ever published of the historical milestone that ushered in our age.

  

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Review: A Carnival of Revolution: Central Europe 1989

User Review  - Michael - Goodreads

This is another of the books I read in graduate school that I hope I will one day have time to really read properly. From what I could tell from my hurried skimming (now several years ago), it is ... Read full review

Review: A Carnival of Revolution: Central Europe 1989

User Review  - Carrie - Goodreads

In terms of innovation and uncovering a period of history that was, at time of publication, not written about in terms of grassroots type movement, this is a great book. The details are great, but it ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
1
ACTORS STAGES REPERTOIRES
22
CHAPTER
57
CHAPTER THREE
91
CHAPTER FOUR
121
CHAPTER FIVE
157
PHOTOGRAPHING THE CARNIVAL
195
A REVOLUTION IN SIXTEEN SCENES
213
EPILOGUE
293
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
307
SOURCES
323
INDEX
331
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About the author (2003)

Padraic Kenney is Professor of History at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the author of A Carnival of Revolution: Central Europe, 1989 and editor of Transnational Moments of Change and Partisan Histories.

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