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category: History
published: Sep 2010
ISBN:9781553656371
publisher: Douglas & McIntyre

Ghosts of Europe

Journeys through Central Europe's Troubled Past and Uncertain Future

by Anna Porter

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former soviet republics, democracy
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $27.95
edition:eBook
category: History
published: Sep 2010
ISBN:9781553656371
publisher: Douglas & McIntyre
Description

"In Anna Porter, we are in the presence not only of a journalist on a personal odyssey back to her own origins in Communist Hungary, but of a gifted storyteller who shapes a historically consequential narrative." -- Shaughnessy Cohen Prize Jury

"Highly readable and enormously informative, this is a book that will make your head spin." -- Maclean's

Winner of the 2011 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for political writing.

One of the country's most distinguished writers and publishers returns to her roots to explore the consequences of democracy in the former Hapsburg lands.

In 1989 the Berlin Wall was dismantled. Communism gave way to democracy. Since that time the former borderlands of the long defunct Hapsburg Empire and the more recently dispersed Soviet Empire have been trying to invent their own versions of democracy and market-driven economics. But these experiments have led to a widening gap between rich and poor. The worldwide economic crisis has severely tested Central Europe's determination to live peaceably, and there are many disquieting signs of old hatreds and racial tensions returning.

Author Anna Porter travels through the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to speak with leading intellectuals, politicians, former dissidents and the champions of aggrieved memories. She interviews great figures of the revolution (V clav Havel, Adam Michnik, George Konr d) and its new custodians, among them Radek Sikorski and Ferenc Gyurcs ny, and also examines the younger generation with little or no experience of Communism and no interest in its aftermath. She visits Poland's Institute of National Remembrance, Prague's Jewish Museum and Hungary's House of Terror, each an attempt to reckon with dark episodes of history.

The Ghosts of Europe is an exploration of power, nationalism, racism and denial in nations with a tumultuous history and an uncertain future.

About the Author
Anna Porter was born in Budapest, Hungary, during the Second World War and escaped with her mother at the end of the 1956 revolution to New Zealand, where she graduated with an MA from Christchurch University. Like so many young Kiwis, after graduation she travelled to London, England, where she had her first taste of publishing. In 1968, she arrived in Canada, and was soon swept up in the cultural explosion of the 1970s. At McClelland & Stewart, run by the flamboyant Jack McClelland, she quickly found herself at the heart of Canadian publishing. In 1982, she founded Key Porter Books and published such national figures as Farley Mowat, Jean Chrétien, Conrad Black, and Allan Fotheringham. She went on to write both fiction and nonfiction works, including Kasztner’s Train, which won the Writers’ Trust Nonfiction Prize and the Jewish Book Award, The Ghosts of Europe, which won the Shaughnessey Cohen Prize for Political Writing, and has published four mystery novels. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Order of Ontario. She lives in Toronto with her husband, Julian Porter. Visit her at AnnaPorter.ca.
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Awards
  • Winner, Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing

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