The End and the Beginning

The Revolutions of 1989 and the Resurgence of History
$121.00 / €111.00 / £95.00
Publication date: 
601 pages

A fresh interpretation of the contexts, meanings, and consequences of the revolutions of 1989, coupled with state of the art reassessment of the significance and consequences of the events associated with the demise of communist regimes. The book provides an analysis that takes into account the complexities of the Soviet bloc, the events’ impact upon Europe, and their re-interpretation within a larger global context. Departs from static ways of analysis (events and their significance) bringing forth approaches that deal with both pre-1989 developments and the 1989 context itself, while extensively discussing the ways of resituating 1989 in the larger context of the 20th century and of its lessons for the 21st.
Emphasizes the possibility for re-thinking and re-visiting the filters and means that scholars use to interpret such turning point. The editors perceive the present project as a challenge to existing readings on the complex set of issues and topics presupposed by a re-evaluation of 1989 as a symbol of the change and transition from authoritarianism to democracy.

Introduction: Preliminaries

Vladimir Tismaneanu
Rethinking 1989

Part One: Memories and Legacies of 1989

Gale Stokes
Purposes of the Past

Agnes Heller
Twenty Years After 1989

Karol Edward Sołtan
Moderate Modernity and the Spirit of 1989

Konrad H. Jarausch
People Power? Towards a Historical Explanation of 1989

Cornel Ban
Was 1989 the End of Social Democracy?

Part Two: Moving Away from the Cold War

Mark Kramer
The Demise of the Soviet Bloc

Vladislav Zubok
Gorbachev and the Road to 1989

Jeffrey Herf
Success Was Not an Orphan: The Battle of the Euromissiles in 1983 and the Events of 1989–1991

A. Ross Johnson
“No One is Afraid to Talk to Us Anymore.” Radio Free Europe in 1989

Part Three: Eastern Europe in 1989

Vladimir Tismaneanu and Bogdan Iacob
Revisiting the Nature and Legacies of the Ceauşescu Regime

Nick Miller
Where Was the Serbian Havel?

Cătălin Avramescu
Communism and the Experience of Light Electrification and Legitimization in USSR and Romania before 1989

Bradley Abrams
Buying Time: Consumption and Political Legitimization in Late-Communist Czechoslovakia

Ioan T. Morar and David Morar
The Second Hat: Romanian Media-Mass from Party Loudspeaker to the Voice of the Oligarchs

Part Four: Aftermaths of Extraordinary Times

Noemi Marin
Totalitarian Discourse and Ceauşescu’s Loss of Words: Memorializing Rhetoric in 1989 Romania

Marci Shore
“A Spectre is Haunting Europe. . .”: Dissidents, Intellectuals and a New Generation

Lavinia Stan
Memory, Justice and Democratization in Post-Communism

A. James McAdams
Transitional Justice and the Politicization of Memory in post-1989 Europe

Tom Gallagher
Incredible Voyage: Romania’s Communist Speculators Adapt and Survive After 1989

Peter Voitsekhovsky
In the Footsteps of 1989: Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution” as a Carnival of Antipolitics

Jeffrey C. Isaac
Conclusion: Shades of Gray: Revisiting the Meanings of 1989

List of Contributors

"Many revisionist historians, particularly in Eastern Europe, in the states of the former Soviet Union and in parts of Asia, doubt the significance of 1989. Some argue that even events like the fall of the Berlin Wall or the collapse of the USSR were not genuine revolutions. The clever and well-argued introduction by the co-editor of this volume, Vladimir Tismaneanu, dismisses the argument. There are some superb pieces here about the actual events of 1989, using recent archival material. Almost nobody in politics, the academy, in foreign policy think-tanks or the intelligence services predicted the revolutions of 1989, or their speed. Most pundits predicted a slow, agonizing death for communism, rather like that of the Ottoman Empire. Now of course, historians say how inevitable 1989 was, that it could not have happened any other way. Those who lived through it, or witnessed it, did not believe it was inevitable. The brave people who went on the streets of Berlin and Dresden,... more
"This collection of twenty-two chapters brings together major intellectuals and scholars, along with emerging names from a younger cohort, in order to address questions surrounding the causes, historicization, and impact of 1989. It is divided into four sections: “Memories and Legacies of 1989,” “Moving Away from the Cold War,” “Eastern Europe in 1989,” and “Aftermaths of Extraordinary Times.” The book engages with some important debates. One of these concerns the significance of 1989 as part of global history. A number of pieces address the relationship between “top-down” and “popular” explanations for the fall of state socialism. A succession of chapters on lustration, justice, and memory make for a strong closing section to the volume. there is much to recommend: it engages in important debates, provides some provocative interventions, suggests interesting approaches to the study of 1989, and includes some effective overviews of the latest in the literature."