Learning to Choose: Electoral Politics in East-Central Europe
By Hubert Tworzecki
Stanford University Press, 2003, 290 pp.
Tight, lucid, and systematic, this book is a helpful look at the kind of voters Polish, Hungarian, and Czech citizens are turning out to be. Along the way, Tworzecki asks how these voters relate to the parties vying for their support. He nicely integrates his criteria into the broader pool of literature on voter behavior and party selection and discovers that social cleavage does matter, but not as much as it did in the formative years of western European party systems. Voters' beliefs and values echo in party choice, but above all they are rapidly learning to evaluate their personal stakes in political outcomes and pick a party likely to represent them. All of this remains in flux, as Tworzecki underscores. Yet he also vividly demonstrates how far parties, politicians, and voters have come since the early years of feared misadventure.