In an urbane and thoughtful essay Dahrendorf reflects on the hectic and heady events of 1989 in eastern Europe and the rougher ride of 1990. It takes the form of a letter to a Polish friend who had asked some pointed and difficult questions about the future. Dahrendorf's thoughts, expressed with clarity and a measure of modest uncertainty, draw on his own broad knowledge of European affairs and his devotion to the ideas of individual rights and open societies rather than systems of whatever stripe. The Liska work, slim in size but weighty in content, also explores the possible course of east-central Europe, especially Czechoslovakia, after the 1989 revolutions. It does so in a broad international framework, delving into patterns of the past and relating them to possible alignments of the future. Dahrendorf's conversational style makes for easier reading than Liska's dense academic prose, but both have significant things to say.
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