An American scholar with a German background conducted copious interviews in East Germany in the summer of 1990, mostly with activists from the civic protest movements of that year and years before. This highly successful oral history is enriched by meticulous and intelligent notes and enlightening introductions to the various sections. He is obviously sympathetic to what he discovered to have been deep, if hard-to-define, aspirations for a democratic society--aspirations that would allow for greater political participation of more independent citizens. He has collected revealing texts that challenge any simple notion about the inevitable victory of Western institutions or mores.
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