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Exit Into History: A Journey Through the New Eastern Europe

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In this intimate narrative journey, Hoffman returns to her Polish homeland and five other countries--Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and the two nations of the former Czechoslovakia--to vividly portray a landscape in the midst of change. "Alert and intuitive."--The Washington Post. Author readings. In this intimate narrative journey, Hoffman returns to her Polish homeland and five other countries--Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and the two nations of the former Czechoslovakia--to vividly portray a landscape in the midst of change. "Alert and intuitive."--The Washington Post. Author readings.


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In this intimate narrative journey, Hoffman returns to her Polish homeland and five other countries--Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and the two nations of the former Czechoslovakia--to vividly portray a landscape in the midst of change. "Alert and intuitive."--The Washington Post. Author readings. In this intimate narrative journey, Hoffman returns to her Polish homeland and five other countries--Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and the two nations of the former Czechoslovakia--to vividly portray a landscape in the midst of change. "Alert and intuitive."--The Washington Post. Author readings.

30 review for Exit Into History: A Journey Through the New Eastern Europe

  1. 4 out of 5

    Velvetink

    Really enjoyed this book, though thought the intro chapter could have been an afterword. Excellent to get an idea of what it was like immed after the cold war ended in Eastern Europe. Loved the personal interviews and thoughts from people the author met on her travels.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Travelin

    I should really rate this lower for putting the idea into my addled young head that Bulgaria was an intellectual paradise, to visit or even to live. It's not the view of people from the new Bulgaria, so Ms. Hoffman's analysis of the positive effects of communism on creative life may not have quite described the Bulgarian politicos she praises. Still, I'm grateful she didn't spend the whole book fawning over Polish preeminence either. I should really rate this lower for putting the idea into my addled young head that Bulgaria was an intellectual paradise, to visit or even to live. It's not the view of people from the new Bulgaria, so Ms. Hoffman's analysis of the positive effects of communism on creative life may not have quite described the Bulgarian politicos she praises. Still, I'm grateful she didn't spend the whole book fawning over Polish preeminence either.

  3. 4 out of 5

    scarlettraces

    This was so sane! And really interesting as well (even if I didn't look at the contents closely enough before borrowing, as it's about none of the countries I'm about to visit. Still, now I know I really want to visit Bulgaria.). Will definitely be searching out more of Hoffman's books. This was so sane! And really interesting as well (even if I didn't look at the contents closely enough before borrowing, as it's about none of the countries I'm about to visit. Still, now I know I really want to visit Bulgaria.). Will definitely be searching out more of Hoffman's books.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    I enjoyed this book about Eastern Europe, post-Communism. The author, Eva Hoffman, visited Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria in 1990 and then again in 1991, and this book is her travel memories and her impressions of the political, economic, and social changes occurring then at breakneck pace. The book really improved as the author moved away from the familiar (Poland, where she grew up, and to a lesser extent, Czechoslovakia) and into unknown territory. I felt the part about I enjoyed this book about Eastern Europe, post-Communism. The author, Eva Hoffman, visited Poland, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria in 1990 and then again in 1991, and this book is her travel memories and her impressions of the political, economic, and social changes occurring then at breakneck pace. The book really improved as the author moved away from the familiar (Poland, where she grew up, and to a lesser extent, Czechoslovakia) and into unknown territory. I felt the part about the Poles in particular was much less sharply observed, which is understandable since Ms. Hoffman is more closely attached to Poland and Polish history. I was also disappointed that nearly everyone she interviewed in Poland was either a literary luminary and/or a newly minted politician. I wanted to know more about ordinary people. But again, this focus on the intelligentsia bothered me less as she moved further from her comfort zone. The adventures and observations from Romania and Bulgaria were particularly fascinating, and I was very interested to learn more about those parts of the world.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    After the precipitate fall of the Communist governments of Eastern Europe almost exactly twenty years ago, a whole new genre of post-Communist tourism was born almost overnight. There was Timothy Garton Ash, with his excellent The History of the Present, which surveyed the whole ground even as it shifted, from East Berlin to Yugoslavia. Then a few Eastern Europeans themselves got into the act: Croatian-born Slavenka Drakulic with her illuminating Cafe Europa and now Polish-born Eva Hoffman with After the precipitate fall of the Communist governments of Eastern Europe almost exactly twenty years ago, a whole new genre of post-Communist tourism was born almost overnight. There was Timothy Garton Ash, with his excellent The History of the Present, which surveyed the whole ground even as it shifted, from East Berlin to Yugoslavia. Then a few Eastern Europeans themselves got into the act: Croatian-born Slavenka Drakulic with her illuminating Cafe Europa and now Polish-born Eva Hoffman with her Exit into History show us the changes from their own unique perspective. By and large, Hoffman writes an interesting survey of the changes as they appeared to her over two years in the early 1990s when she wrote the book. Unfortunately, I get the feeling that she had some horrendous experiences in Romania which affected her judgment. Also, she was a little less than fair to the Hungarians. Predictably, she was at her best describing the situation in Poland, which she knows intimately, and Bulgaria, where she had no preconceptions going in.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Aurora

    Such a great book. It's not a literary classic or anything, but it's pretty imperative reading for anyone that has any curiosity about history, especially in Eastern Europe. Hoffman travels back to the country of her birth, Poland, right after liberation from the Soviets in 1989 and again a year later. If Hoffman wrote this now, it would probably be pushed as a memoir. And it would lose much for that. Hoffman does talk about her own experience growing up in the country and what happens to her in Such a great book. It's not a literary classic or anything, but it's pretty imperative reading for anyone that has any curiosity about history, especially in Eastern Europe. Hoffman travels back to the country of her birth, Poland, right after liberation from the Soviets in 1989 and again a year later. If Hoffman wrote this now, it would probably be pushed as a memoir. And it would lose much for that. Hoffman does talk about her own experience growing up in the country and what happens to her in each of the countries while she exits in them and interviews many of the residents. She's trying to get a snapshot of what each country is experiencing. For the most part, you don't get a sense that she's oversimplifying the entirety of a population's experiences or feelings, with the exception of Romania. Anyway, the book matches really well with the perceptions I heard from other travelers and from my own experience.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Maura

    finally hitting the big 3-0. i blame thicky and all the New X-Men graphic novels he threw at me. this is a good travelogue of a woman who grew up in Poland, emigrated to the US, and then went back to visit Poland, and 4 other countries in Eastern Europe right after the end of the Cold War. It's a great viewpoint on a time/place that i've honestly not read much about before. finally hitting the big 3-0. i blame thicky and all the New X-Men graphic novels he threw at me. this is a good travelogue of a woman who grew up in Poland, emigrated to the US, and then went back to visit Poland, and 4 other countries in Eastern Europe right after the end of the Cold War. It's a great viewpoint on a time/place that i've honestly not read much about before.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gage

    I couldn't finish reading this book. The book sounded really interesting and should have been considering the topic, but I struggled through the first 3 sections and finally gave up because it was so hard to get into. I wish it would have been better because I really wanted to learn about what the fall of communism was like since I'm traveling in these countries now. I couldn't finish reading this book. The book sounded really interesting and should have been considering the topic, but I struggled through the first 3 sections and finally gave up because it was so hard to get into. I wish it would have been better because I really wanted to learn about what the fall of communism was like since I'm traveling in these countries now.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Art

    The first chapter sets the tone of what life was like in 1990, in post-USSR world. Hard to imagine but there are conversations had with people experiencing a change to the status quo not unlike one might suffer from during the after effects of a catastrophic natural event.

  10. 4 out of 5

    bitterpale

    Left over from a Poli Sci class at uni. It was an optional read for the class and I never did it but held onto it to eventually read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Shawn

    回访冷战后的东欧多国,各有特色

  12. 5 out of 5

    Emma

    A little bit dense, dark and slow at parts but what do you expect in a book about the Soviet legacy!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris

    Most surprising for her and for me was the chapter on Bulgaria — with its high European and folk Balkan cultures.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    A very well written travelogue across Eastern Europe right as the iron curtain fell.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jenel

    Interesting but not as good or as relevant as Shtetl.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mark Hamilton

  17. 5 out of 5

    Eric

  18. 5 out of 5

    Bob Brinkmeyer

  19. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Pyle

  20. 4 out of 5

    George

  21. 5 out of 5

    Beverly

  22. 4 out of 5

    Adam Dupaski

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sandor Hites

  24. 4 out of 5

    Alissa

  25. 4 out of 5

    Gus Langley

  26. 4 out of 5

    Natalia

  27. 4 out of 5

    Margot

  28. 5 out of 5

    stefandora

  29. 4 out of 5

    Susanne

  30. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Druyan

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