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The Library of Babel

A Spin-off of http://bookwormshead.blogspot.co.uk

The Uses Of Adversity: Essays On The Fate Of Central Europe - Timothy Garton Ash Still reading this one, but I'm almost done with it.

Next to excellent collection of essays on written in the early 1980s by a then young - and very beardy - Timothy Garton Ash.

On the whole 'The Uses of Adversity' gives a very interesting portrait of a rather abstract concept such as 'Central Europe' as seen a few years before that turning point of a year that 1989 was.

Now that something called 'Eastern Poland' promotes itself on every number of The Economist looking at the equalliy vague 'Central Europe' aka Mitropa (a deceased neologism, I'm afraid) might be worth.

German, Polish, Hungarian and Czechoslovakian politics, social life, cinema and literature are often intertwined here and what the British historian says does often make sense.

Nevertheless, Mr Garton Ash is clearly on steadier ground when writing about Poland, East Germany and Czechoslovakia than when looking into West Germany and Hungary.

If you are looking for the odd interview with the likes of Vaclav Havel, are interested to know how Polish universities or Hungarian censorship got by in the 1980s this is your stuff.

'The Uses of Adversity' hosts a stellar cast including Pope Johnny P, Michnik, Hoenecker, Walesa, Mrozek, Milosz, Kundera and Konrad.

Plus, there's even a cameo of the forgotten Solidarnosc minstrel: Jacek Kaczmarski.
I couldn't ask for much more.