"Nigel Swain's book combines contemporary historical analysis and comparative sociology in a remarkable effort to provide a complex tool for understanding the processes of transforming former communist societies into capitalist ones. The whole book is built on an analytical pattern which allows the reader to distinguish between various dimensions of the transformation process, including changes in agricultural and non-farming sectors as well as the construction of the new local authorities. The book offers answers to important questions such as why the existence of a secondary economic sector in Hungary assured the needed resources for entrepreneurship. How important was the fact that in Poland state farm workers were landless? Why are contemporary farms from the Czech Republic larger than in other former communist countries? The book draws an exceptionally detailed image of rural changes in the early postcommunist period and presents a variety of economic, social and political aspects of these processes. It is based on an enormous amount of work and the comparative nature of the book makes it mandatory reading for scholars interested in rural changes in Central and Eastern Europe and the Balkans."