In This Review

La Démocratie se Lève à l'est: Société Civile et Communism en Europe de L'est: Pologne et Hongrie
La Démocratie se Lève à l'est: Société Civile et Communism en Europe de L'est: Pologne et Hongrie
By Miklós Molnár
Presses Universitaires de France, 1990, 387 pp.

Two themes run through Molnár's study of Poland and Hungary in the era of communist rule: the unending struggle between the monopoly party and civil society, and the traditions and characteristics of central European people unassimilable in a Russian or Soviet imperium. These themes are not new, but Molnár's work stands out because of its wealth of illustrative material and its sure touch in interpreting Polish and especially Hungarian events. The narrative is lengthier than necessary on some familiar aspects of the past, such as the nature of Stalinist regimes and how they were established, but even in this there are nuggets not to be missed. The book concludes with the democratic victories of 1989 and mercifully refrains from overblown predictions.