A comprehensive introduction to the nations of Central and Eastern Europe and their shared and divergent experiences of post-communist transition to free-market democracies.
The first part of the book describes the communist system introduced throughout the region after World War II and the causes of the system's ultimate collapse.
Detailed chapters on each country of the region describe
--the particular features of the country's communist regime and its collapse;
--the country's response to four post-communist challenges: (1) creating democratic political institutions; (2) economic liberalization; (3) achieving social accord; (4) reorienting relations with the world, and in particular with neighboring states;
--the social stresses and dislocations associated with system change; ethnic conflict; job insecurity; family and gender relations; environmental degradation.
A concluding section sums up the commonalities and patterns characterizing post-communist development and the scope and significance of increased diversity in the region.