Catalogue


A carnival of revolution : Central Europe 1989 /
Padraic Kenney.
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2002.
description
viii, 341 p. : ill.
ISBN
0691050287 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press, c2002.
isbn
0691050287 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
4660540
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"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 ofFantasies 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 Revolutionis a key contribution to the saga of the Central European civil rights movements."--MiklÓs Haraszti, author ofVelvet 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
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2002-06-01:
The stunning events of 1989 have been described many times by both the participants and the foreign journalists on the scene. Unlike other accounts, this work focuses on the many dissident groups who quickly put their many years of organization and opposition skills to good use as soon as they perceived regime weakness and who mobilized the seemingly spontaneous street demonstrations. Kenney (Univ. of Colorado) was a graduate student researcher in Wrocl/aw, Poland, in 1986 and 1989, where he observed the many groups that protested (often successfully) environmental and other issues not immediately threatening to the regime. Others channeled their energies into underground rock music or theater groups. Such groups were active in most Eastern European capitals, and their leaders were able to travel frequently to other cities, spreading their successful ideas and tactics. Using oral history techniques and underground literature, Kenney has woven together stories of many individuals, disillusioned by the martial law decrees in Poland in 1981, who went underground to continue their protests, then emerged as a highly organized and stunning festival of street theater to topple several regimes. This new approach is a valuable contribution to the topic and will appeal to both historians and political scientists. Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Choice on 2002-11-01:
Kenney (Univ. of Colorado at Boulder; Rebuilding Poland: Workers and Communists, 1945-1950, CH, Jul'97) chronicles the revolutions that swept through the central European countries in 1989. He argues that grassroots movements actively protested military and environmental policy long before Gorbachev's glasnost policy. His story, he writes, travels "through the streets of dozens of cities and towns accompanied by numerous movements, and across events left out of the standard narratives of the greatest revolutionary event of our lifetime." This revolutionary "carnival" lasted for about three and a half years, from the spring of 1986, when demonstrations after the Chernobyl accident occurred, until the Velvet Revolution in Prague. Kenney chose the term "carnival" because the revolution was "joyous" and instigated by a tremendous variety of political groups: hippies, pacifists, environmental activists, street musicians, and other performance artists. They mixed strands of "anarchism, nationalism, liberalism, conservatism, and postmaterialism in idiosyncratic ways." Colorfully written, this book would fit well in any undergraduate or graduate course on central European history and politics, or even in a course on revolutions. All levels. J. Granville Clemson University
Reviews
Review Quotes
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.'
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.
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.
Seminal and indispensable. Using his first-hand acquaintance with many of the key participants in the movements . . . Kenney has given us a pioneering oral history. . . . Strikingly well written, A Carnival of Revolution weaves personal narratives of protest into an illuminating historical analysis of the changing environment in which a new kind of politics developed.
"Seminal and indispensable. Using his first-hand acquaintance with many of the key participants in the movements . . . Kenney has given us a pioneering oral history. . . . Strikingly well written, A Carnival of Revolution weaves personal narratives of protest into an illuminating historical analysis of the changing environment in which a new kind of politics developed."-- John Gray, Times Literary Supplement
Using oral history techniques and underground literature, Kenney has woven together stories of many individuals. . . . This new approach is a valuable contribution to the topic and will appeal to both historians and political scientists.
"Using oral history techniques and underground literature, Kenney has woven together stories of many individuals. . . . This new approach is a valuable contribution to the topic and will appeal to both historians and political scientists."-- Library Journal
"In wondering at the overnight collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, Western observers have often focused on Gorbachev, Vaclav Havel, the storied opposition in Poland, and the measures of regime failure. These accounts have missed something. Kenney goes back and uncovers the more complex bubbling of events--that helped prepare the way for democracy."-- Foreign Affairs
In wondering at the overnight collapse of communism in Eastern Europe, Western observers have often focused on Gorbachev, Vaclav Havel, the storied opposition in Poland, and the measures of regime failure. These accounts have missed something. Kenney goes back and uncovers the more complex bubbling of events--that helped prepare the way for democracy.
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.
"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
Assiduous in searching out sources in several countries and languages . . . [Kenney] has gathered together information that no one else has or will. As a result, he has written an account that is essential reading for a full understanding of the revolutions of 1989 and of the younger generations that haunted the last days of Communism.
"Assiduous in searching out sources in several countries and languages . . . [Kenney] has gathered together information that no one else has or will. As a result, he has written an account that is essential reading for a full understanding of the revolutions of 1989 and of the younger generations that haunted the last days of Communism."-- John J. Kulczycki, International History Review
Essential reading for a full understanding of the revolution of 1989 and of the younger generation that haunted the last days on Communism.
"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
A Carnival of Revolutionacts as a potent corrective to the simplistic and often self-serving accounts of the fall of the Iron Curtain currently in vogue. . . . Padraic Kenney's careful account returns history to its rightful owners, the thousands who risked what little security they had to sneak a little joy into their lives.
" A Carnival of Revolution acts as a potent corrective to the simplistic and often self-serving accounts of the fall of the Iron Curtain currently in vogue. . . . Padraic Kenney's careful account returns history to its rightful owners, the thousands who risked what little security they had to sneak a little joy into their lives."-- Mother Jones
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, June 2002
Choice, November 2002
Choice, November 2003
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
Publisher Fact Sheet
The First History Of the revolutions that toppled Communism in Europe to look behind the scenes at the grassroots movements that made those revolutions happen.
Main Description
This is the first history of the revolutions that toppled communism in Europe to look behind the scenes at the grassroots movements that made those revolutions happen. It looks for answers not in the salons of power brokers and famed intellectuals, not in decrepit economies--but in the whirlwind of activity that stirred so crucially, unstoppably, on the street. Melding his experience in Solidarity-era Poland with the sensibility of a historian, Padraic Kenney takes us into the hearts and minds of those revolutionaries across much of Central Europe who have since faded namelessly back into everyday life. This is a riveting story of musicians, artists, and guerrilla theater collectives subverting traditions and state power; a story of youthful social movements emerging in the 1980s in Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and parts of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Kenney argues that these movements were active well before glasnost. Some protested military or environmental policy. Others sought to revive national traditions or to help those at the margins of society. Many crossed forbidden borders to meet their counterparts in neighboring countries. They all conquered fear and apathy to bring people out into the streets. The result was a revolution unlike any other before: nonviolent, exuberant, even light-hearted, but also with a relentless political focus--a revolution that leapt from country to country in the exciting events of 1988 and 1989. A Carnival of Revolution resounds with the atmosphere of those turbulent years: the daring of new movements, the unpredictability of street demonstrations, and the hopes and regrets of the young participants. A vivid photo-essay complements engaging prose to fully capture the drama. Based on over two hundred interviews in twelve countries, and drawing on samizdat and other writings in six languages, this is among the most insightful and compelling accounts ever published of the historical milestone that ushered in our age.
Main Description
This is the first history of the revolutions that toppled communism in Europe to look behind the scenes at the grassroots movements that made those revolutions happen. It looks for answers not in the salons of power brokers and famed intellectuals, not in decrepit economies--but in the whirlwind of activity that stirred so crucially, unstoppably, on the street. Melding his experience in Solidarity-era Poland with the sensibility of a historian, Padraic Kenney takes us into the hearts and minds of those revolutionaries across much of Central Europe who have since faded namelessly back into everyday life. This is a riveting story of musicians, artists, and guerrilla theater collectives subverting traditions and state power; a story of youthful social movements emerging in the 1980s in Poland, East Germany, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and parts of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Kenney argues that these movements were active well before glasnost. Some protested military or environmental policy. Others sought to revive national traditions or to help those at the margins of society. Many crossed forbidden borders to meet their counterparts in neighboring countries. They all conquered fear and apathy to bring people out into the streets. The result was a revolution unlike any other before: nonviolent, exuberant, even light-hearted, but also with a relentless political focus--a revolution that leapt from country to country in the exciting events of 1988 and 1989. A Carnival of Revolutionresounds with the atmosphere of those turbulent years: the daring of new movements, the unpredictability of street demonstrations, and the hopes and regrets of the young participants. A vivid photo-essay complements engaging prose to fully capture the drama. Based on over two hundred interviews in twelve countries, and drawing on samizdat and other writings in six languages, this is among the most insightful and compelling accounts ever published of the historical milestone that ushered in our age.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This is a history of the revolutions that toppled communism in Europe. It looks behind the scenes at the grassroots movements which made those revolutions happen.
Back Cover Copy
"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."-- kos Rna-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."-- Mikls 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
Table of Contents
Introduction: Street Theater, Concrete Poetryp. 1
Actors, Stages, Repertoiresp. 21
Eating the Crocodile with a Spoon, or, A Career Guide to the Undergroundp. 23
The Amnesty Trap
Political Charity
Church and Opposition
The Workers' Dilemma
Vents or Accumulators?
Come With Us! They Aren't Beating Today! The Art of the Blizzardp. 57
The Ballad of Marek Adamkiewicz
Conservative Pacism, Anarchist Nationalism
Ideals and Instruments
"Radiators" across the Bloc
Zarnobyl
The Blue and the Green
Bratislava Speaks Up
"I'd Rather Live"
In the Future Tense
As If in Europe: The International World of Peace and Human Rightsp. 91
Reticence and Revolutionary Tourism
Dialogue for an Endangered
Continent
Helsinki from Below
On the Friendship Trail
Borders Fall in East Germany
Coventry Cathedral and the Church on Zytnia Street
The New Politics of the Konkretny Generationp. 121
A Shy Little Wave for Gorbachev
The Lion Cubs of Western Ukraine
Slovenia's People for Peace Culture
Hungarian Orange Appeal
Towards an Opposition in Prague
Workers of the Last Hour
How the Smurfs Captured Gargamel, or, A Revolution of Stylep. 157
The Elfn Rebellion
Hippies in the Holy Garden
The Young Subversive's Handbook
Gloom in Krakcw
Pietia's Crusade
Pornoslavia
God, King, and Country in Bohemia
To Become a Smurf
Photoessayp. 195
A Revolution In Sixteen Scenesp. 213
"Blink, and I See Another World": The Candlelight Marchp. 215
A Tale of Two Leninsp. 217
Slovene Springp. 225
Days That Shook Lvivp. 229
Strikes in Shades of Orangep. 233
An Invasion Rememberedp. 238
WaterDam/ned: Hungary Defends the Danubep. 241
Independence Day and Palach Weekp. 244
Encircling the Round Tablep. 249
Mothers and Childrenp. 254
On the Fourth of Junep. 257
Hungarians Bury the Communistsp. 261
Korzos and Road Racesp. 265
Lviv Passes the Batonp. 269
The Mosquito and the Messedemosp. 274
Bring a Flower with You! The Velvet Revolutionp. 280
Epilogue: No More Picnics, After the Revolutionp. 293
Jacob's Retreat Remembering 1989
Acknowledgmentsp. 307
Notesp. 311
Sourcesp. 323
Indexp. 331
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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