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The Walls Came Tumbling Down

Collapse and Rebirth in Eastern Europe

Second Edition

Gale Stokes

Publication Date - September 2011

ISBN: 9780199732630

384 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $84.99

A clear and engaging history of the gradual collapse of Eastern European communism


Gale Stokes' The Walls Came Tumbling Down offered one of the most respected interpretations of the East European revolutions of 1989 for many years. It provides a sweeping yet vivid narrative of the two decades of developments that led from the Prague Spring of 1968 to the collapse of communism in 1989. Highlights of that narrative include, among other things, discussions of Solidarity and civil society in Poland, Charter 77 and the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia, and the bizarre regime of Romania's Nikolae Ceauescu and his violent downfall. In this second edition, now appropriately subtitled Collapse and Rebirth in Eastern Europe, Stokes not only has revised these portions of the book in the light of recent scholarship, but has added three new chapters covering the post-communist period, including analyses of the unification of Germany and the collapse of the Soviet Union, narratives of the admission of many of the countries of the region to the European Union, and discussion of the unfortunate outcomes of the Wars of Yugoslav Succession in the Western Balkans.

About the Author(s)

Gale Stokes is past Dean of Humanities, Chair of the History Department, and a three-time winner of the George R. Brown Award for Superior Teaching at Rice University. He is the author of several books, including From Stalinism to Pluralism: A Documentary History of Eastern Europe Since 1945, Second Edition, (OUP, 1996) and Three Eras of Political Change in Eastern Europe (OUP, 1996).

Previous Publication Date(s)

December 1993


"The book strikes a very nice balance between interpretation and narration, never getting too bogged down in a detailed explanation of political developments nor getting lost in overly nuanced analysis."--Brian Porter-Szucs, The University of Michigan

"Engaging and insightful both in its review of the past and its predictions for the future of post-communist Eastern Europe. I was impressed by the creative organization of the book. Stokes is magnificent in presenting the complexity of regional developments and is careful to avoid generalizations across borders and parties."--Irina Gigova, College of Charleston

"This is an excellent book and I have been assigning it for more than a decade. The writing is very good. It is clear, engaging, and at a level that my students can follow without difficulty."--T. Mills Kelly, George Mason University

Table of Contents


    1. The New Opposition: Antipolitics and Solidarity
    2. The Gang of Four and Their Nemesis
    3. The Momentum of Change in Hungary
    4. Solidarity and the Return of the Repressed in Poland
    5. The Glorious Revolutions in 1989
    6. The Devil's Finger: The Disintegration of Yugoslavia
    7. The New European Order
    8. Central Europe on the Move
    9. Southeastern Europe: A Glass Half Empty

    Epilogue: Pluralism, The New Reality