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Academic Freedom. The Global Challenge
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The Dilemmas of Dissidence in East-Central Europe
Citizen Intellectuals and Philosopher Kings

Barbara J. Falk, Fellow of the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Toronto, Professor of Politics at Humber College, Toronto

*Choice Outstanding Academic Book for 2003*

Choice, the magazine of the American Library Association has selected The Dilemmas of Dissidence in East-Central Europe by Barbara J. Falk as a 2003 Outstanding Academic Title

Discusses one of the major currents leading to the fall of communism. Falk examines the intellectual dissident movements in Poland, Czechoslovakia and Hungary from the late 1960s through to 1989. In spite of its historic significance, no other comprehensive survey has appeared on the subject.

In addition to the huge list of written sources from samizdat works to recent essays, Falk`s sources include interviews with many personalities of those events as well as videos and films (including Oscar winners).

The author passionately argues that the intellectuals and dissident writers of the region not only contributed mightily to the events themselves, but also collectively bequeathed to the world an oeuvre that constitutes one of the most original, important and useful contributions to political theory today.

Although indeed classified as political theory, The dilemmas of dissidence provides exciting narrative account of the development of thoughts and actions of those brave intellectuals in the dreary Warsaw, Prague and Budapest of yesteryear.

"Unlike other studies in this field of political science, Barbara Falk takes dissident ideas seriously and shows their power and force in a particular ideological, social and political context. She is also interested in what happened after those often highly speculative and abstract ideas were put into circulation inside and outside the dissident groups. She also addressed the problem of the limited impact of these ideas on political developments in Central Europe after the 1989 revolutionary changes.
The study is informative, balanced in its descriptive parts, and provides an original insight into the role of dissidents as committed public intellectuals. It is well researced and includes a remarkable number of details." - Political Studies Review

"Falk's approach runs against the grain of contemporary postmodern analysis, which privileges the text itself over other sources. Instead she tries to strongly contextualize the emergence of new modes of thought in Poland, Czechoslovakia, and Hungary, following the kind of path-dependent approach that has been so fruitful to understanding democratic transition and social change in the region...
This book deserves a broad readership. Political theorists will benefit from Falk's tour of the accomplishments of the writers of the region." - Slavic Review

"... a truly indispensable book. ...The examinations of each thinker-politician are well done and will do much to anchor their ideas in the repertoire of the student of contemporary European history. ...The influence of East-European dissent should not be underestimated and we should be grateful to Falk for making this case." - European History Quarterly

"There are three strands to Barbara Falk's fascinating new book: first, charting dissident acitvity in east-central Europe during the Communist period; secondly providing an account of the relationship and interaction between dissident intellectuals and the societies in which they lived; and third, to convince the reader that dissidents in the region should be accorded a place in the pantheon of political thinkers.
... she is to be commended for highlighting both the importance of links between groups in different countries and the impact events elsewhere in the Eastern Bloc had on dissident activity." - Central Europe

"Studie Barbary Falkové je prvním knižne vydaným pokusem o pohled na dejiny a politické myšlení disentu trí zemí východní Evropy: Polska, Ceskoslovenska a Madarska... tvorí diskuse s Ralfem Dahrendorfem, jeho žákem Timothy Gartonem Ashem a dalšími, kterí disidentskému myšlenkovému okruhu nepriznávají žádný význacný prínos pro politickou teorii... Kniha je záslužná a prípadným "lokálním" autorum nasazuje latku pomerne vysoko." - Lidové noviny

500 pages
ISBN 978-963-9241-38-1 cloth $59.95 / €49.95 / £37.95
ISBN 978-963-9241-39-8 paperback $27.95 / €24.95 / £22.99