The Price of Freedom surveys and explains the fascinating and intricate history of East Central Europe - the present day countries of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Taking a thematic approach, the author explores such issues and controversies as the tension between the industrial developed West and the agrarian East Central Europe, the rise of modern nationalism, democracy and authoritarianism and Communism.
While the countries of East Central Europe have differed dramatically from one another, the author asserts that they have been bound by a certain community of fate. These comparisons are traced through the Middle Ages and the Early Modern era to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This exploration reveals that it is no accident that the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland were the first among the former Soviet bloc nations to be admitted to NATO, and are likely to become the first members of the expanded European Union. Thus an understanding of their experiences, contributions and their place within the European community of nations vastly enriches our knowledge of Europe's past and present.
The second edition of this distinguished book brings the history of the region up to date. It discusses the events of the post-communist decade of the 1990s and the problems resulting from the transition to democracy and market economy.
Table of Contents
Introduction: what's in a name? 1. The medieval heritage 2. The challenge of the modern age 3. The seventeenth century crisis 4. Enlightened absolutism or enlightened liberty? 5. The age of liberal nationalism 6. From compromise to independence 7. The difficult independence 8. The hard road to freedom