The Burdens of Freedom

Eastern Europe Since 1989

By Padraic Kenny  

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From Estonia to Macedonia, this book is a history of fifteen countries as they negotiate their transition from communism. For some, the story ends happily, with triumphant entry into the European Union in 2004. Others are caught in limbo, destroyed by nationalist politics, war and genocide, or crippled by corrupt political practices. The Burdens of Freedom considers the effects of revolutionary change, the resurgence of nationalism and the painful examination of the past. It looks at the process of building stable democratic states and their integration with international structures. Most of the countries have been active participants in the occupation of Iraq. Domestically, each has seen a divide emerge between winners and losers. All are moving forward simultaneously to democracy, unity and prosperity, and national division, corruption and economic disparity.

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  • Introduction: The Shock of the New
  • Different Paths on an Open Road: Economic and Social Change
  • In Praise of Ethnic Cleansing? National Struggles
  • Peeling the Past: Nostalgia and Punishment
  • Portraits in Hubris: Democratic Politics
  • A New Europe: The East in the West
  • Conclusion: The Edge of History
  • Index


  • Padraic Kenny

    University of Colorado at Boulder

    PADRAIC KENNEY divides his time between Wroclaw, Poland, and the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he is a professor of history. He is the author of several books on Eastern European history and politics, including A Carnival of Revolution: Central Europe, 1989 (2002).

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