The Unfinished Revolution


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Making Sense of the Communist Past in Central-Eastern Europe

James Mark

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While the West has repeatedly been sold images of a victorious people’s revolution in 1989, the idea that dictatorship has been truly overcome is foreign to many in the former Communist bloc. In this wide-ranging work, James Mark examines how new democratic societies are still divided by the past.

James Mark is senior lecturer in history at the University of Exeter.

"A masterly, sophisticated and original account of the struggle of Eastern bloc countries to come to terms with their Communist pasts. A fine contribution to studies of collective memory and oral testimony." - Robert Gildea, University of Oxford

"James Mark’s Unfinished Revolution provides an excellent discussion of central-eastern Europe’s relationship to its past. Combining memory studies with oral history, Mark draws on a wide range of sources in his supremely well-written analysis of the political, social and cultural processes of coming to terms with fascism and communism." - William Niven, author of Facing the Nazi Past

“Memory in its public and accessible forms - institutional, collective, popular, cultural, social - continues to excite lively interest across the academic disciplines, not least because it remains such an inspiring if contentious term of political action in so many parts of the contemporary world, as citizenries continue coming to terms with one kind of dictatorial and violent past or another. By exploring those complexities so carefully and poignantly in the concrete settings of individual lives, James Mark provides especially rich access to the dynamics of this process in post-Communist east-central Europe.” - Geoff Eley, author of Reshaping the German Right

"The role of history in this battle, fought out in both the political arena and scarred personal psychologies, is [intricate], and Mark traces these complexities with skill."—Foreign Affairs

"Unfinished Revolution is one of the best books on east European communism in the last few years."—Padraic Kenney, Slavic Review

"Mark uses oral history in this delightful book to get at the debates over collaboration and agency under the ancien regime, especially in Hungary and Poland."—J.K. Cox, Choice

"James Mark’s “The Unfinished Revolution”, is an invaluable contribution to the field of memory studies and it will remain one of the key reference works on the subject of memory and representations of Communism in Central-Eastern Europe for years to come. The book is the first attempt to provide a comparative assessment of the way the Communist past has been tackled by post-Communist political elites ... a highly original work and a truly groundbreaking contribution to the field of memory studies in East Central Europe. The book would certainly feature the reading lists of university courses, and one could only wish that it would eventually land on the desks of intellectuals and civil servants engaged on the battlefronts of memory wars as well."—Balázs Apor, H-SOZ-U-KULT

“This book, rich in memory and politics, culture and history, gives a fascinating new insight into one of the major changes of our times.”—Taylor Downing, History Today
ISBN: 9780300167160
Publication Date: March 15, 2011
344 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
12 b/w illus.