Rothschild underscores at the outset that he has written a basic general survey of east-central Europe in the twentieth century through the end of communism. A distillation, he warns his readers, not a rich compendium of detail and personalities. What he has the grace not to trumpet is that this second edition builds on his classic history of this region during the interwar years published in 1974. Thus, while his book is indeed a relatively brief survey, it originates in and reflects a profoundly rich and deep historical perspective.
The last chapter, devoted to the collapse of communism, is too brief, and other histories already exist that do greater justice to this final phase. Nonetheless, few have told the whole story as well.