LIGHTING THE NIGHT: Revolution in Eastern Europe by William Echikson

LIGHTING THE NIGHT: Revolution in Eastern Europe

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Drawing on his five years (1985-1990) covering Eastern Europe for the Christian Science Monitor, Echikson (now a Paris correspondent for the Wall Street Journal) here offers authoritative on-site coverage and analysis of the Eastern European revolutions. In a series of fascinating interviews and biographical profiles, Echikson introduces his readers to the leaders of the uprisings and some of their less well-known compatriots, contrasting them with the old line of Moscow-trained Eastern European rulers. Echikson reviews the turbulent history of each country, its geographical features, and its ethnic and religious makeup. He then describes prerevolutionary daily life with its disaffected workers, alienated students, self-seeking bureaucrats, and disaffected intellectuals, and he examines the tension between public and private life as well as the religious revival that fed opposition movements. Looking at the postrevolutionary situation, Echikson draws attention to Eastern Europe's lack of experience with democratic government and pinpoints problems with the economy, the environment, the bureaucracy, and minorities as obstacles to be overcome. He warns that each nation must come to terms with its past, learning from and not refueling ancient hatreds and prejudices. It is within this context that his personal and professional interest in the vestiges of Eastern European Jewry becomes even more meaningful. Focused more on the past and present than on the future, this very readable book concludes with a brief discussion of two possible models for the future: the Finnish experience and the Latin American alternative. A first-rate, firsthand account. (For a more philosophical analysis of possible Eastern European futures, see Dahrendorf's Reflections on the Revolutions in Europe, reviewed above.)

Pub Date: Oct. 16th, 1990
Publisher: Morrow