Solidarity's End

One of the qualities that helped eastern Europeans survive more than four decades of communist rule was a keen sense of irony. The sentiment was on show even as the old system of central control began to unravel and democracy and capitalism rushed in. The summer and fall of 1989 were full of passionate protestors and revolutionary honesty. But the millions of people who ripped open the Iron Curtain generally did so with an eyebrow cocked at what was replacing their decayed regimes. In the street markets of Warsaw and Prague in those early years of freedom, the symbols of communism...

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