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The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Length: 177 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Garton Ash's] own involvement in these events, intellectual and emotional, is of such intensity that he can speak...from the inside as well as from the outside. Yet the sense of historic dimension...is never lost. And the quality of the writing places it clearly in the category of good literature." -- George Kennan

The Magic Lantern is one of those rare books that define a historic moment, written by a brilliant witness who was also a participant in epochal events. Whether covering Poland's first free parliamentary elections -- in which Solidarity found itself in the position of trying to limit the scope of its victory -- or sitting in at the meetings of an unlikely coalition of bohemian intellectuals and Catholic clerics orchestrating the liberation of Czechoslovakia, Garton Ash writes with enormous sympathy and power.

In this book -- now with a new Afterword by the author -- Garton Ash creates a stunningly evocative portrait of the revolutions that swept Communism from Eastern Europe in 1989 and whose after-effects will resonate for years to come.

"Along with the historian's long view, Gatton Ash has an eye and an ear for the telling detail." -- Washington Past Book World


From the Trade Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

"A wonderful combination of first-class reporting, brilliant political analysis and reflection."--The New York Times Book Review

Product Details

  • File Size: 2929 KB
  • Print Length: 177 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (September 1, 2010)
  • Publication Date: September 1, 2010
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004089I5Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,731 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Ash, through his incomparable access to the leaders of the resistance movements in Warsaw, Prague, Budapest, and Berlin, provides a very well rendered and beautifully detailed account of his observations in those cities, and he seems to have been in all the right places at all the rights time. He also includes a very insightfull and well informed interpretation of the long range inplications of what he observed. It must be remembered, as he points out himself, that what he saw was only a tiny portion of all that went on, and the observations of many other people who were on the scene have to be put together to form the whole picture.
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Format: Paperback
Few people can be as lucky as Timothy Garton Ash. I've read his book "We The People" which I believe to be the same with this book. The book is divided into chapters concerning the "refolutions" (as Ash calls them) in Poland, Hungary, East Germany, and Czechoslovakia. In the last 2 chapters, Ash makes a very good analysis and comparison of these 4 revolutions. If you would like to get a comprehensive idea about how these revolutions in these 4 states came out, then this book is absolutely for you. The book has certain details which cannot be found in any other book.
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Format: Paperback
This is a behind the scenes look at some of the most inspiring movements of our generation. You cannot read the pages of this book and not feel the importance of the moment and the power of the ideas. This book gives you a better understand of the climate at the time of the fall of the eastern block and the fall of communism in Eastern Europe.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading this book, you feel history come alive as never before. The writing itself is kind of journalistic, which is not my favorite style (I much prefer the literary masters), but it works. It was definitely a great time to be alive in Eastern Europe.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An often eye-witness account of the democratic revolutions of 1989 in Poland, Hungary, East Germany and Czechoslovakia.

The writing is a little uneven but it provides an excellent inside account of exceptional historic events. Ash left me with a very strong sense of the contingent and uncertain nature of the revolutions. Miscommunications, errors, spur-of-the-moment statements, all combined to move events forward much, much more quickly than any of the participants expected.

Yet these succeeded in being peaceful revolutions, driven by a deliberate choice by their leaders to take and hold the moral high ground. There was a corresponding inner collapse by the existing authorities, who really had nothing to which they themselves were committed or could fight to defend.

I found this an inspiring tonic after reading Richard Evans' grim "The Third Reich in Power". Ash has left me feeling much more optimistic about human nature!
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Format: Paperback
A good snapshot of the mood during 1989 and how events in the four featured countries were connected. Also, thoughtful insights as to how to view this book, especially this edition, which is re-printed many years later. Ash's theory as to what, if any, learnings are to come out of how each government went about their transformation is especially relevant given the status of those same governments today. Not always the easiest read, nor the best on the subject, but a good companion for further investigations.
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Format: Paperback
It was a very informative book, especially considering the author could write it from the point of view that he did. The only major downside, which I will point out is a downside on my part and not his, is that I sometimes would get a little confused when he mentioned too many foreign names.

Nonetheless, it was an excellently written book.
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Format: Paperback
Timothy Garton - Ash is a professional journalist who had the fortune to play historian as the Cold War ended. As a writer who had access to the anti-communist leaders in East Europe in 1989 - 1990, he provides an inside glimpse in exactly how the revolutions took place in Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland and East Germany.
1989 was a magical, wonderful year. Ash's discussion of the event is similarly engrossing.
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