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  • Cited by 32
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
August 2019
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Book description

The collapse of the Berlin Wall has come to represent the entry of an isolated region onto the global stage. On the contrary, this study argues that communist states had in fact long been shapers of an interconnecting world, with '1989' instead marking a choice by local elites about the form that globalisation should take. Published to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary of the 1989 revolutions, this work draws on material from local archives to international institutions to explore the place of Eastern Europe in the emergence, since the 1970s, of a new world order that combined neoliberal economics and liberal democracy with increasingly bordered civilisational, racial and religious identities. An original and wide-ranging history, it explores the importance of the region's links to the West, East Asia, Africa, and Latin America in this global transformation, reclaiming the era's other visions such as socialist democracy or authoritarian modernisation which had been lost in triumphalist histories of market liberalism.


‘This is a provocative volume that challenges the liberal Western account of the negotiated transition from Communism in 1989 by stressing the agency of East European reformers and intellectuals. It recontextualises the story as part of the global deradicalisation of socialism and interprets the region as an example of 'in-betweenness', at once part and opposite of the West.’

Konrad H. Jarausch - University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

‘A remarkable scholarly achievement which compels us to rethink the Eastern Europe transition of 1989 in a global context, dispensing with a Western triumphalist view of the end of the Cold War. Through painstaking detail and incisive analysis, this shows us the ways in which East Europeans continue to navigate their own political paths.’

Mary Neuburger - University of Texas, Austin

‘Laying waste to all lingering clichés of the walled hermit kingdoms of socialist-era Eastern Europe, the authors restore the history of Cold War Eastern Europe to the world, depicting it as a region entangled in global supply chains and transnational lines of political influence long before 1989. The authors refuse simplistic narratives of convergence and help explain the contemporary challenges of nativist nationalism.’

Quinn Slobodian - Wellesley College, Massachusetts

‘This excellent book contributes to the recent trend in bringing together Eastern European and global history, and shows the fruitfulness of collective book writing.’

Philipp Ther - Universität Wien

‘1989: A Global History of Eastern Europe offers a nuanced and sobering account of the global context of the fall of the Eastern Bloc and its role in the construction of post-Cold War Europe … makes a unique and necessary contribution not just to the historiography of the revolutions of 1989, but also to our understanding of the rightward drift in contemporary Eastern Europe.’

Nick Ostrum Source: EuropeNow

‘A must-read for every historian who deals with Eastern Europe after 1945 and especially after 1968. It shows the importance of history for explaining contemporary situations and inspires historians to draw out their research up to the present and to intervene in the public sphere.’

Luboš Studený Source: Prague Economic and Social History Papers

‘Using a global approach, this extraordinary book, which was written by four authors, who all teach history at the University of Exeter as specialists of different regions (James Mark/Central Europe, Bogdan C. Iacob/Eastern Europe, Tobias Rupprecht/Latin America, and Ljubica Spaskovska/former Yugoslavia), critiques and revises a number of popular aspects of this Eurocentric myth of 1989 … an important contribution to our understanding of today’s world.’

Árpád von Klimo Source: H-Diplo

‘This ambitious, rich, and necessary book is the first comprehensive scholarly synthesis of the global reach of Eastern Europe from late socialism in the 1970s to the postsocialist transition after 1989 through the illiberal turn following 2008. Cowritten by four specialists on Hungary, Romania, Yugoslavia, and the Soviet Union, 1989: A Global History of Eastern Europe is a model for collaborative work melding regional expertise in a genuinely comparative, transnational analysis.’

Theodora Dragostinova Source: The American Historical Review

‘… rich, thought-provoking account of 1989. Without doubt, the monograph will spark academic discussions and will open new avenues for research on this hotly debated period. It thus will be on the recommended list for any scholar interested in the history of the region, its global context, and its ongoing reverberations.’

Ruzha Smilova Source: Southeastern Europe

‘… 1989 is probably the best transregional history of 1989 one can read today …’

Judit Bodnár Source: Slavic Review

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