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This is a personal view, from ground level, of a revolution that never quite finished. Of how it re-emerges, in demonstrations and uprisings, on a regular basis. How the demons of the past--of collaboration, of unsatisfied national identity, above all, of poverty--continue to haunt the present. Blood drips on Nick Thorpe's head as he tries to escape the Romanian secret poli This is a personal view, from ground level, of a revolution that never quite finished. Of how it re-emerges, in demonstrations and uprisings, on a regular basis. How the demons of the past--of collaboration, of unsatisfied national identity, above all, of poverty--continue to haunt the present. Blood drips on Nick Thorpe's head as he tries to escape the Romanian secret police with a dissident's statement hidden in his clothes. Through the autumn and winter of 1989, Thorpe hops from revolution to revolution, from Budapest to Prague, from Leipzig to East Berlin. And he gets to Romania in time for the bloody finale. But with the victory of democracy, his work was only just beginning. Thorpe guides us through the dramas and traumas of the 1990s, "jungle capitalism," a taxi blockade in Hungary, and the miners' invasion of Bucharest. He camps with Vaclav Havel--who borrows his sleeping bag. As Yugoslavia collapses, he reports from Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Macedonia. The book concludes in the present day, with the impact of the crisis of capitalism, twenty years after the crisis of communism. Nick Thorpe began reporting from Budapest in February 1986, the first Western journalist to be based there. For the BBC, "The Independent," and "The Observer," he covered the dying years of Eastern Europe's regimes, then the revolutions that toppled them. As the BBC's Central Europe correspondent, he continues to report from there to this day, charting the successes and the failures of a revolution that never quite reaches its goal.


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This is a personal view, from ground level, of a revolution that never quite finished. Of how it re-emerges, in demonstrations and uprisings, on a regular basis. How the demons of the past--of collaboration, of unsatisfied national identity, above all, of poverty--continue to haunt the present. Blood drips on Nick Thorpe's head as he tries to escape the Romanian secret poli This is a personal view, from ground level, of a revolution that never quite finished. Of how it re-emerges, in demonstrations and uprisings, on a regular basis. How the demons of the past--of collaboration, of unsatisfied national identity, above all, of poverty--continue to haunt the present. Blood drips on Nick Thorpe's head as he tries to escape the Romanian secret police with a dissident's statement hidden in his clothes. Through the autumn and winter of 1989, Thorpe hops from revolution to revolution, from Budapest to Prague, from Leipzig to East Berlin. And he gets to Romania in time for the bloody finale. But with the victory of democracy, his work was only just beginning. Thorpe guides us through the dramas and traumas of the 1990s, "jungle capitalism," a taxi blockade in Hungary, and the miners' invasion of Bucharest. He camps with Vaclav Havel--who borrows his sleeping bag. As Yugoslavia collapses, he reports from Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, and Macedonia. The book concludes in the present day, with the impact of the crisis of capitalism, twenty years after the crisis of communism. Nick Thorpe began reporting from Budapest in February 1986, the first Western journalist to be based there. For the BBC, "The Independent," and "The Observer," he covered the dying years of Eastern Europe's regimes, then the revolutions that toppled them. As the BBC's Central Europe correspondent, he continues to report from there to this day, charting the successes and the failures of a revolution that never quite reaches its goal.

30 review for 89: The Unfinished Revolution: Power and Powerlessness in Eastern Europe

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy Noble

    How much do we value a man's life and commitment to his craft? In a time of unprecedented attacks on journalists and their integrity I found this a great book to read. Nick Thorpe was a prominent reporter for the BBC in East Europe - based on Hungary during recent decades. As result he was able to map the personal and political landscape of the region with great humanity and at a micro-level of detail. I so thoroughly enjoyed this book having visited Hungary in the 1970's en passage to the forme How much do we value a man's life and commitment to his craft? In a time of unprecedented attacks on journalists and their integrity I found this a great book to read. Nick Thorpe was a prominent reporter for the BBC in East Europe - based on Hungary during recent decades. As result he was able to map the personal and political landscape of the region with great humanity and at a micro-level of detail. I so thoroughly enjoyed this book having visited Hungary in the 1970's en passage to the former Yugoslavia and onwards. The complexity and fascination of Budapest as the one country 'behind the Iron Curtain' that one could visit remained with me for years. I remember the innocent shock of seeing a Roma woman begging and breastfeeding in the streets. One of those moments of difference that makes travelling such a crucible of maturity. His personal story - weaved in with historical events and characters helped me better understand the current Hungarian reputation as an outlier in Europe. Complexity. We can only hope for the best. Thanks Nick Thorpe. May your book be read for pleasure and education far into the future.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Toby Philpott

    Lots of Food for Thought - Even Now A little dated now but still a wonderful inside view of the momentous changes that took place in Central and Eastern Europe in the late 80s and their failure to live up to the heady hopes of that time. Lots of good, thoughtful insight and well worth reading! I’ve worked in or visited many of the countries mentioned down the years (starting in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1997, Bosnia in Oct 1998, etc.) and found myself nodding my head in agreement in many Lots of Food for Thought - Even Now A little dated now but still a wonderful inside view of the momentous changes that took place in Central and Eastern Europe in the late 80s and their failure to live up to the heady hopes of that time. Lots of good, thoughtful insight and well worth reading! I’ve worked in or visited many of the countries mentioned down the years (starting in the Czech Republic and Slovakia in 1997, Bosnia in Oct 1998, etc.) and found myself nodding my head in agreement in many places.

  3. 4 out of 5

    John

    Interesting, important and very uneven. The author covers parts of the era very well and ignores others. Essentially nothing is devoted to the role of Soviet democrats in achieving the freedom for the satellites and Soviet Republics. Just Gorbachev. No credit is given to Pope John Paul II, Thatcher, Reagan. It is as if the Soviet Empire collapsed because of the anti-war movement and the ecologist. Seriously, that is the perspective provided. Very naive.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Alina Girnet

    A comprehensive review of the most important events in the contemporary history of East-Central European and Balkan countries spiced-up with backstage journalistic details from Nick Thorpe’s experience as a BBC correspondent. “What attracted me about Eastern Europe from the start was exactly what repelled many western visitors. It was the disorder, the untidiness, the injustice.”

  5. 4 out of 5

    Alistaire King

    Reportage at its best This is not a history book but is pure reportage. The author worked for the BBC and was based in Hungary during this period. What we get are insights from the street and the people. The book concentrates mainly on Hungary, Romania,Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia but not ignoring Poland. We learn about the environmental campaigns in the old Eastern bloc something I haven't seen discussed before. A worthwhile read for anyone interested in the period.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jimmy Kiteley

    Covers events in Romania, Hungary, Czech Republic and Yugoslavia very well. The beauty of this book is the chapers on what happened after 1989. Thrope's anyalsis of leaders and countries is intelligent and you learn about their cultures too.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul Hayes

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nathan

  9. 4 out of 5

    John Bell

  10. 4 out of 5

    Emma Cousins

  11. 5 out of 5

    Susan griffie

  12. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Lloyd

  13. 4 out of 5

    Liam

  14. 5 out of 5

    Colin P McDonald

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jessie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Vincent

  17. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Slorance

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amy

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jason RB

  20. 5 out of 5

    Robert Bige

  21. 5 out of 5

    Adrian Buck

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mike Grenville

  23. 5 out of 5

    Margarita Morris

  24. 5 out of 5

    Keith Lauchlan

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Meddings

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Davies

  27. 4 out of 5

    Georg Everardus Andreas Jacobs

  28. 4 out of 5

    Andy Lopata

  29. 5 out of 5

    alan overall

  30. 4 out of 5

    james looney

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