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1989

Revolutionary Ideas and Ideals

2001
Author:

Krishan Kumar

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By looking back, a major scholar probes the meaning of revolutionary change in the coming era.

In 1989, from East Berlin to Budapest and Bucharest to Moscow, communism was falling. The walls were coming down and the world was being changed in ways that seemed entirely new. The conflict of ideas and ideals that began with the French Revolution of 1789 culminated in these revolutions, which raised the prospects of the "return to Europe" of East and Central European nations, the "restarting of their history," even, for some, the "end of history." What such assertions and aspirations meant, and what the larger events that inspired them mean-not just for the world of history and politics, but for our very understanding of that world-are the questions Krishan Kumar explores in 1989.

Contradictions Series, volume 12

. . . Krishan Kumar provides a thorough and stimulating guide to the debates and developments in social theory raised by the events of 1989 in east central Europe....an invaluable guide and stimulus for further thinking on the revolution of 1989.

Slavic Review

In 1989, from East Berlin to Budapest and Bucharest to Moscow, communism was falling. The walls were coming down and the world was being changed in ways that seemed entirely new. The conflict of ideas and ideals that began with the French Revolution of 1789 culminated in these revolutions, which raised the prospects of the "return to Europe" of East and Central European nations, the "restarting of their history," even, for some, the "end of history." What such assertions and aspirations meant, and what the larger events that inspired them mean-not just for the world of history and politics, but for our very understanding of that world-are the questions Krishan Kumar explores in 1989.

A well-known and widely respected scholar, Kumar places these revolutions of 1989 in the broadest framework of political and social thought, helping us see how certain ideas, traditions, and ideological developments influenced or accompanied these movements-and how they might continue to play out. Asking questions about some of the central dilemmas facing modern society in the new century, Kumar offers critical insight into how these questions might be answered and how political, social, and historical ideas and ideals can shape our destiny.

Contradictions Series, volume 12

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Krishan Kumar is professor of sociology at the University of Virginia.

Book Default Image

. . . Krishan Kumar provides a thorough and stimulating guide to the debates and developments in social theory raised by the events of 1989 in east central Europe....an invaluable guide and stimulus for further thinking on the revolution of 1989.

Slavic Review

With thoroughness and insight, Kumar scans the vast canvass of the slow and relentless implosion of the communist system, and presents his investigation with exemplary clarity and elegance. This achievement will be difficult to match, and all further trials to grasp the logic of the seminal events of 1989 would have to engage with Kumar's thought-provoking synthesis.

Zygmunt Bauman, University of Leeds/Warsaw University

Krishan Kumar provides a thorough and stimulating guide to the debates and developments in social theory raised by the events of 1989 in east central Europe. Kumar combines clear exposition and acute analysis of many of the main schools and trends of social theory and has a deservedly excellent reputation for his previous work.

Slavic Review