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A Carnival of Revolution:
Central Europe 1989
Padraic Kenney

Book Description | Table of Contents
Introduction [HTML] or [PDF format]


"I know of no other book telling of so many lesser-known groups and activists involved in a social movement wave across so many countries (not to mention languages). Kenney cobbles their stories together like a master sleuth writing a whodunit, culminating with a series of sketches putting the pieces together as 1989 approaches. It . . . will be a crucial reference for a long time to come."--David Ost, American Historical Review

"Essential reading for a full understanding of the revolution of 1989 and of the younger generation that haunted the last days on Communism."--John J. Kulczycki, International History Review


"Marvelously written, this book gives a strong sense of what it must have felt like to participate in various anticommunist movements in the mid- and late 1980s in Eastern Europe. The stories are well told, with great authority and a deep understanding of many of the complexities actors had to face."--Ákos Róna-Tas, University of California San Diego

"This is a pathbreaking, indispensable book for grasping the complexities of both the pre-1989 and post-revolutionary situation in central Europe. Truly pioneering in both scope and depth, it offers a comprehensive, unconventional, and gripping perspective on the motivations of political mobilization and anti-authoritarian activism. I read it with immense interest and pleasure."--Vladimir Tismaneanu, University of Maryland, author of Fantasies of Salvation

"Padraic Kenney is the first scholar to draw a historical map of the secret reunification of Europe 'from below' that occurred well before the 1989 revolutions brought the results of that job to the surface. This job was accomplished by activists from both communist Central Europe and the West, all of them 'dissidents' at the time in their own societies. Thanks to Kenney's sensitivity to the decidedly 'American' ideas of the founding fathers of the post-1989 new democracies and thanks also to his knowledge of the field, which is unsurpassed by any European researcher, A Carnival of Revolution is a key contribution to the saga of the Central European civil rights movements."--Miklós Haraszti, author of Velvet Prison, founding member of Hungary's Democratic Opposition in the 1970s and 1980s, member of the Hungarian Parliament from 1990-1994

"With a profound first-hand knowledge of participants, encompassing linguistic competence, and engaging prose, Padraic Kenney recreates the simultaneously serious and playful currents of East Europe's overthrow of repressive state socialism. What an invaluable guide to the elusive exhilaration that motivated the actors and captivated all of us who followed the transformation with such hope! We can appreciate neither the ebullience of 1989 nor the disappointment with the quotidian reality that followed without understanding Kenney's 'carnival.'"--Charles S. Maier, Harvard University

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File created: 4/21/2017

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