In Comparitive Politics class, I recently finished The Magic Lantern by Timothy Garton Ash. I haven’t read such an astoudingly well-told historical narrative in so long. Ash tells the tale of being at the crux of revolution during the late 20th century when Poland, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, and Hungary “went” democratic. He most famous wrote this about countries turning democratic, “In Poland it took ten years, in Hungary ten months, in East Germany ten weeks: perhaps in Czechoslovakia it will take ten days!” While crafting a magnificent story full of personal details, Ash also breaks down the factors for democratization (ah, a true educational purpose).
I was taken aback by how little I know about Eastern Europe and its history or rather recent history. It’s scary to think that I was alive for a lot of the events portrayed in the book.