The rapid and unexpected collapse of the Communist systems of the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe continues to mystify scholars and citizens alike. The recent flood of books on this topic (many of them excellent) poses special problems for librarians who will need to choose carefully not only as to quality but also coverage. Stokes's work which covers Poland Germany Czechoslovakia Hungary Bulgaria and Romania can be recommended as a coherent well-written history that defines its time frame well provides sound coverage makes prudent judgments and wears its analysis lightly. The book is particularly strong on the events leading up to 1989 especially with respect to Poland and Czechoslovakia and to intellectual and moral dissent. Stokes's overview traces the ebb and flow of personalities and events in a manner that is both accessible to lay readers and informative to scholars.
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