The Ghosts of Europe Central Europe's Past and Uncertain Future

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-01-18
  • Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

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A publishing pioneer and former emigre's journey into the heart of Europe and the fragile state of democracy after the fall of CommunismMore than twenty years ago, the nations of central Europe rushed to reinvent themselves as capitalist societies. Anna Porter traveled to the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia to interview the winners and the losers in this grand European transformation to ask: Is democracy working? Her probing encounters run the gamut from Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa and Radek Sikorski; to poor farmers betrayed by the new economy; to the wealthiest man in Hungary, a former Communist who capitalized on hurried privatizations; to the generation of twenty-somethings armed with little or no perspective on the grim specter of a Communist past.Penetrating and powerfully observed,The Ghosts of Europeilluminates themes of tyranny, nationalism, racism and denial in nations with a tumultuous history and an uncertain future.

Author Biography

ANNA PORTER fled Hungary with her family after the ‘56 Revolution and now lives in Canada. She is the author of Kasztner’s Train and winner of the Nereus Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize.

Table of Contents

"A deeply intelligent journalistic report on the state of that part of the world today, in the form of interviews with powerful people there now. Compelling reading even superficially, but the underlying subject is history itself, and historical consciousness, and it will leave thoughtful ghosts in your mind, too."

The Ellenville Shawangunk Journal

"An enlightening if unsettling account of Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia 20 years after the collapse of communism....broad and vivid."

Kirkus Reviews

Essential reading for anyone who cares about Central Europe’s past and its impact on the present.  This book is in Anna Porter’s bloodstream and she writes with passion and conviction about Central Europe’s tormented past and often confused and confusing present. Every page brims with information and firsthand knowledge.”

—Kati Marton, New York Times bestselling author of Enemies of the People

Intimate and insightful: an exile's poignant return home, an accomplished journalist's shrewd analysis.”

—David Frum, New York Times bestselling author of Comeback

“Anna Porter’s brilliant The Ghosts of Europe will not necessarily confirm what you thought before you started reading it, but it is sure to make you think again about what you thought you knew.”

—George Jonas, author of Vengeance

“Anna Porter is the modern version of a Renaissance explorer.  She views old lands with a fresh eye and sends back essential dispatches about new worlds....A must read.”

—Peter C. Newman, author and former editor of Maclean’s and The Toronto Star

"Highly readable and enormously informative, this is a book that will make your head spin."


"[An] intriguing and accessible narrative of contemporary Central Europe."

—Globe and Mail

"Porter offers a succinct, highly readable, contemporary history, interspersed with interviews with influential national figures regarding past, present, and future."

—National Post

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