Stefano Bottoni: Long Awaited West. Eastern Europe since 1944 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, October 2017)
What is Eastern Europe and why does this large regions feel nowadays distant from the European core?
This book tells the story of how Central and Eastern Europe became part of the Soviet empire. It explains how did this strange empire consolidate, how did it start declining and how it did fall apart in 1989. Even most importantly, this book explores how Soviet-ruled Eastern Europe strove to develop and implement its own pattern of modernization, and then, following the fall of the Iron Curtain, spent some two and a half decades posing as a kind of pupil of the West. The central argument of this book is that over the last years “transgression” of the liberal democratic model has become an increasingly popular response to the overall failure to catch up with the standards of living of Western Europe, a response fueled in part by disenchantment and national bias.
This book considers what binds these countries together in an increasingly globalized world. Focusing on economic and social policies, it explores how Eastern Europe developed and, more importantly, why it remains so economically and mentally distant from the rest of the continent, a distance which has deepened since the global economic crisis of 2008. The book provides new insight into Eastern Europe’s significance as it finds itself located – both politically and geographically – between a distracted European Union and Russia’s increasingly assertive policy. The book is recommended not only to scholars and students interested in Eastern European history, but also to political scientists, economists and stakeholders.
Table of Contents:
Introduction: Eastern Europe: Reframing a Debated Concept
1. On Soviet Turf (1944-1948)
2. Terror and Thaw (1949-1955)
3. Political Crises and Social Consolidation (1956-1972)
4. The Decline and Fall of the Soviet Bloc (1973-1991)
5. Return to Europe? The Post-communist Galaxy
6. Eastern Europe Today: Western Periphery or Buffer Zone?
Epilogue: Unreflective Mimetism and National Egoism