Thursday, August 8, 2013

Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56

The best finds are when it happens without looking for it... This is exactly what happened when reading the fantastic new book by Anne Applebaum "Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944-56". 
One of the pictures (above) says: "The Communist Party in Lodz, Poland, demonstrates against Western imperialism and Winston Churchill, 1946". And even in the Poland of 1946, a Basque beret was standard gear for demonstrators! 
Without wanting to sound arrogant, I believed I was reasonably well informed about Eastern ('Central', really) Europe, having lived and worked in the former USSR and spent time in many East-Block countries before the end of communism. Of course, Ms Applebaum is American and a real right-winger too, but nonetheless, this book is a real eye-opener. It makes fascinating (and frightening) reading and makes me question once again my latent sympathy for socialism.
Much better than I can in a few lines, there is a great review by Anatol Lieven in the Guardian (here). I bought my copy in town, @ $36.00 - The Book Depository sells it at $ 12.45 including international shipping... Highly recommended!

1 comment:

  1. Lodz was also a stronghold of the Jewish-Polish labour movement in the garment industry there. I certainly am not excusing Stalinist sympathies, given the blood on the hands of that tyrant, but I can understand why Lodz survivors would support the Communist road (even in the "orthodox" sense) and disbelieve Western reports of Soviet tyranny.

    And one needn't be pro "Iron Curtain" or authoritarian rule to have socialist sympathies!