The Magic Lantern is one of those rare books that define a historic moment, written by a brilliant witness who was also a participant in epochal events. Whether covering Poland's first free parliamentary elections--in which Solidarity found itself in the position of trying to limit the scope of its victory--or sitting in at the meetings of an unlikely coalition of bohemian intellectuals and Catholic clerics orchestrating the liberation of Czechoslovakia, Garton Ash writes with enormous sympathy and power.
This book is a stunningly evocative portrait of the revolutions that swept Communism from Eastern Europe in 1989 and whose aftereffects are still being felt today. As Garton Ash writes in an incisive new afterword, from the perspective of three decades later: "Freedom's battle is never finally won. It must be fought anew in every generation."
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"[Garton Ash's] own involvement in these events, intellectual and emotional, is of such intensity that he can speak...from the inside as well as from the outside. Yet the sense of historic dimension...is never lost. And the quality of the writing places it clearly in the category of good literature." -- George Kennan
"Along with the historian's long view, Gatton Ash has an eye and an ear for the telling detail." -- Washington Past Book World