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Fantasies of salvation : democracy, nationalism, and myth in post-communist Europe /
Vladimir Tismaneanu.
imprint
Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, c1998.
description
xi, 216 p.
ISBN
0691048266 (cl : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, NJ : Princeton University Press, c1998.
isbn
0691048266 (cl : alk. paper)
catalogue key
1913795
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Vladimir Tismanueanu is a prominent essayist and an expert on contemporary policy. He knows everything about Central and Eastern Europe. . .I warmly recommend this book--it is as controversial as it is inspiring."--Adam Michnik, author ofLetters from Prison, editor ofWyborcza(Warsaw)
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 1998-05-01:
The heady optimism shared by many Western countries that the demise of the Communist systems in Eastern Europe would lead quickly and inevitably to liberal democracies has been tempered by the refloresence of a nationalism that tends to exhibit virulent xenophobic and illiberal tendencies. Tismaneanu (government, Univ. of Maryland at College Park; The International Politics of Eurasia, M.E. Sharpe, 1995) chronicles a steady rise in anti-Semitism in a number of Eastern European countries, even though the Jewish population has shrunk considerably or nearly disappeared entirely in some regions. Other minority religious and/or ethnic groups also suffer in the post-Communist countries because of this authoritarian nationalistic sentiment. Tismaneanu concludes that some Eastern European countries will evolve into some version of liberal democracy, while others may not. Some of the author's observations may be dark or unsettling, but the book as a whole compares well with other books published on Eastern European politics. A scholarly work worthy of all academic and larger public libraries.‘Stephen W. Green, Auraria Lib., Denver (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 1998-12:
In this fascinating book, Tismaneanu (Univ. of Maryland) examines the political psychology of postcommunist societies by exploring the emergent East European responses to "the moral disarray of individuals in times of historical fracture." The author begins with the observation that the initial euphoria that followed in the wake of the 1989-91 revolutions in East Central Europe has faded. What has taken its place is a general sense of malaise and frustration. Tismaneanu argues that these postcommunist societies are in search of a new axis around which to define their collective identities. In this unsettled environment, a host of new, and frequently contradictory, political mythologies have arisen that aim to unify fragmented societies. Most, however, embody worldviews that are antithetical to Western values and liberal democracy. According to Tismaneanu, the salience of these myths for the exasperated and exhausted populations of the postcommunist world represents a serious challenge to the future of stable democracy in the region. Tismaneanu examines these myths thematically (such as redemption and scapegoating myths) and explores their various manifestations in the countries of East Central Europe. This is an extraordinarily well written and intellectually engaging work. Recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above. C. A. Hody; University of Maryland Baltimore County
Reviews
Review Quotes
Vladimir Tismanueanu is a prominent essayist and an expert on contemporary policy. He knows everything about Central and Eastern Europe. . .I warmly recommend this book--it is as controversial as it is inspiring.
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, May 1998
Choice, December 1998
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Back Cover Copy
"Vladimir Tismanueanu is a prominent essayist and an expert on contemporary policy. He knows everything about Central and Eastern Europe. . .I warmly recommend this book--it is as controversial as it is inspiring."-- Adam Michnik, author of Letters from Prison , editor of Wyborcza (Warsaw)
Main Description
Eastern Europe has become an ideological battleground since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with liberals and authoritarians struggling to seize the ground lost by Marxism. InFantasies of Salvation, Vladimir Tismaneanu traces the intellectual history of this struggle and warns that authoritarian nationalists pose a serious threat to democratic forces. A leading observer of the often baffling world of post-Communist Europe, Tismaneanu shows that extreme nationalistic and authoritarian thought has been influential in Eastern Europe for much of this century, while liberalism has only shallow historical roots. Despite democratic successes in places such as the Czech Republic and Poland, he argues, it would be a mistake for the West to assume that liberalism will always triumph. He backs this argument by showing how nationalist intellectuals have encouraged ethnic hatred in such countries as Russia, Romania, and the former Yugoslavia by reviving patriotic myths of heroes, scapegoats, and historical injustices. And he shows how enthusiastically these myths have been welcomed by people desperate for some form of "salvation" from political and economic uncertainty. On a theoretical level, Tismaneanu challenges the common ideas that the ideological struggle is between "right" and "left" or between "nationalists" and "internationalists." In a careful analysis of the conflict's ideological roots, he argues that it is more useful and historically accurate to view the struggle as between those who embrace the individualist traditions of the Enlightenment and those who reject them. Tismaneanu himself has been active in the intellectual battles he describes, particularly in his native Romania, and makes insightful use of interviews with key members of the dissident movements of the 1970s and 1980s. He offers original observations of countries from the Baltic to the Black Sea and expresses his ideas in a vivid and forceful style.Fantasies of Salvationis an indispensable book for both academic and nonacademic readers who wish to understand the forces shaping one of the world's most important and unpredictable regions.
Main Description
Eastern Europe has become an ideological battleground since the collapse of the Soviet Union, with liberals and authoritarians struggling to seize the ground lost by Marxism. In Fantasies of Salvation , Vladimir Tismaneanu traces the intellectual history of this struggle and warns that authoritarian nationalists pose a serious threat to democratic forces. A leading observer of the often baffling world of post-Communist Europe, Tismaneanu shows that extreme nationalistic and authoritarian thought has been influential in Eastern Europe for much of this century, while liberalism has only shallow historical roots. Despite democratic successes in places such as the Czech Republic and Poland, he argues, it would be a mistake for the West to assume that liberalism will always triumph. He backs this argument by showing how nationalist intellectuals have encouraged ethnic hatred in such countries as Russia, Romania, and the former Yugoslavia by reviving patriotic myths of heroes, scapegoats, and historical injustices. And he shows how enthusiastically these myths have been welcomed by people desperate for some form of "salvation" from political and economic uncertainty. On a theoretical level, Tismaneanu challenges the common ideas that the ideological struggle is between "right" and "left" or between "nationalists" and "internationalists." In a careful analysis of the conflict's ideological roots, he argues that it is more useful and historically accurate to view the struggle as between those who embrace the individualist traditions of the Enlightenment and those who reject them. Tismaneanu himself has been active in the intellectual battles he describes, particularly in his native Romania, and makes insightful use of interviews with key members of the dissident movements of the 1970s and 1980s. He offers original observations of countries from the Baltic to the Black Sea and expresses his ideas in a vivid and forceful style. Fantasies of Salvation is an indispensable book for both academic and nonacademic readers who wish to understand the forces shaping one of the world's most important and unpredictable regions.
Table of Contents
Preface: Why Eastern Europe and Why Care?
Introduction: After Marx: The Return of Political Mythp. 3
Resurrecting Utopia: Ideology versus Mythologyp. 23
The Leninist Debris, or Waiting for Peronp. 38
Vindictive and Messianic Mythologies: Post-Communist Nationalism and Populismp. 65
Scapegoating Fantasies: Fascism, Anti-Semitism, and Myth Making in East Central Europep. 88
Is the Revolution Over? The Myth of Decommunization and the Quest for Political Justicep. 111
A Velvet Counterrevolution? Dissidents, Dreamers, and Realpolitikp. 141
Conclusion: The Mythological Construction of Reality: Political Complexity in a Post-Communist Worldp. 153
Notesp. 169
Indexp. 211
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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