The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe

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The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe

Format:  Hardcover,

370 pages

Publisher: Random House Inc

Publish Date: Jan 2013

ISBN-13: 9780307888815

ISBN-10: 0307888819

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The following content was provided by the publisher.
An inventive, wholly original look at the complex psyche of Eastern Europe in the wake of the revolutions of 1989 and the opening of the communist archives.
In the tradition of Timothy Garton Ash's "The File, "Yale historian and prize-winning author Marci Shore draws upon intimate understanding to illuminate the afterlife of totalitarianism. "The Taste of Ashes" spans from Berlin to Moscow, moving from Vienna in Europe's west through Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw and Bucharest to Vilnius and Kiev in the post-communist east. The result is a shimmering literary examination of the ghost of communism - no longer Marx's "specter to come" but a haunting presence of the past.
Marci Shore builds her history around people she came to know over the course of the two decades since communism came to an end in Eastern Europe: her colleagues and friends, once-communists and once-dissidents, the accusers and the accused, the interrogators and the interrogated, Zionists, Bundists, Stalinists and their children and grandchildren. For them, the post-communist moment has not closed but rather has summoned up the past: revolution in 1968, Stalinism, the Second World War, the Holocaust. The end of communism had a dark side. As Shore pulls the reader into her journey of discovery, reading the archival records of people who are themselves confronting the traumas of former lives, she reveals the intertwining of the personal and the political, of love and cruelty, of intimacy and betrayal. The result is a lyrical, touching, and sometimes heartbreaking, portrayal of how history moves and what history means.

Specifications

Publisher: Random House Inc
Publish Date: Jan 2013
ISBN-13: 9780307888815
ISBN-10: 0307888819
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 370
Shipping Weight (in pounds): 1.35
Product in Inches (L x W x H): 7.0 x 9.5 x 1.0

Chapter outline

Author's Notep. ix
Prefacep. xi
The Taste of Ashesp. 1
A Wrinkle in Timep. 4
Truthp. 15
Hair Is Like Garbagep. 37
Everything I Know about People I Learned in the Campsp. 44
It Was Only a Small Revolutionp. 51
Pornography in Praguep. 69
The Human Being Is Rather Perversep. 82
Reason and Consciencep. 99
A Galician Summerp. 120
Think About Whether or Not I Was Rightp. 125
The Other Side of Stalinismp. 132
The Locomotive of Historyp. 139
Cemeteriesp. 201
Broken Familiesp. 213
The Eternally Wandering Jewp. 221
The Dead and the Livingp. 227
But Not in the Ovensp. 254
Children of the Revolutionp. 273
The Taste of Caviarp. 279
Filesp. 284
Everything Was So Unattractivep. 291
Unrequited Lovep. 299
A Star of the Stagep. 307
Lustrationp. 311
God-Seekingp. 333
Tragedy and Romancep. 342
Acknowledgmentsp. 359
Cast of Historical Figuresp. 363

Book description

An inventive, wholly original look at the complex psyche of Eastern Europe in the wake of the revolutions of 1989 and the opening of the communist archives.

In the tradition of Timothy Garton Ash's The File, Yale historian and prize-winning author Marci Shore draws upon intimate understanding to illuminate the afterlife of totalitarianism. The Taste of Ashes spans from Berlin to Moscow, moving from Vienna in Europe's west through Prague, Bratislava, Warsaw and Bucharest to Vilnius and Kiev in the post-communist east. The result is a shimmering literary examination of the ghost of communism - no longer Marx's "specter to come" but a haunting presence of the past.

Marci Shore builds her history around people she came to know over the course of the two decades since communism came to an end in Eastern Europe: her colleagues and friends, once-communists and once-dissidents, the accusers and the accused, the interrogators and the interrogated, Zionists, Bundists, Stalinists and their children and grandchildren. For them, the post-communist moment has not closed but rather has summoned up the past: revolution in 1968, Stalinism, the Second World War, the Holocaust. The end of communism had a dark side. As Shore pulls the reader into her journey of discovery, reading the archival records of people who are themselves confronting the traumas of former lives, she reveals the intertwining of the personal and the political, of love and cruelty, of intimacy and betrayal. The result is a lyrical, touching, and sometimes heartbreaking, portrayal of how history moves and what history means.

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