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Lithuania Awakening

by Alfred Erich Senn


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From Publishers Weekly
The mass demonstrations that shook Lithuania in 1988 touched off a national rebirth, triggering a public outcry for an end to a half-century of Soviet rule. Senn, a University of Wisconsin historian, visited Lithuania in '88, and his detached, eyewitness account of that pivotal year provides a key to understanding the nationalist and ethnic ferment sweeping the Soviet Union. We watch as Stalin's murders and deportations become a topic for open discussion; as ecological concerns and rock music galvanize Lithuania's youth; and as people clamor for making Lithuanian the official language and for teaching the nation's history in the schools. One arm of the protest, Sajudis, evolved from a discussion group to a mass movement, while another faction, the Freedom League, demanded national independence, setting the stage for the recent showdown with Gorbachev. Photos.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

SEA Power
"A detailed first-hand account of the political and cultural events in Lithuania . . . that signalled the transformation of a seemingly stable Soviet satellite state into one of the strongest democratic voices in Eastern Europe today."

Publishers Weekly
"A key to understanding the nationalistic and ethnic ferment sweeping the Soviet Union."

Book Description
Mikhail Gorbachev's policy of perestroika released new forces throughout Soviet society. In Lithuania this process resulted in a psychological-cultural revolution. Deep-rooted feelings, long suppressed, exploded, demonstrations and mass meetings ensued, and the face of the society changed. Although at the beginning of 1988 Lithuania appeared to be one of the relatively conservative republics in the Soviet Union, by the end of the year it stood among the leaders in pushing change. By 1990, Lithuania was even forcing Moscow to respond to its initiatives for independence and economic reform.
Is Lithuania the prototype of a nation emerging from the collectivity of the Soviet Union? Alfred Erich Senn, who was present during most of this piece of history in the making, believes that it may be. He documents the dramatic events and changes in Lithuania during 1988 with the perspective of a historian and the immediacy of a participant.
The reader will easily grasp the whole spectrum of political activity in Lithuania, and the range from right to left among Lithuanian activists. And, because the Lithuanians have emerged among the leaders of change in the Soviet Union, Senn's account provides a key to later developments, in terms of both political movements and political personalities.

From the Inside Flap
"What this book offers is an extremely detailed account of how, in 1988, Lithuania began a revolution. . . . Knowing this part of the story I can better understand the dramatic developments of 1989 and 1990. Also, by analogy, I have a better sense of what is going on elsewhere in the USSR."--Daniel Chirot, author of The Origins of Backwardness in Eastern Europe

"An impressive achievement of the kind we rarely find in the field: diligent and thorough, consistent and original, marked by considerable perceptiveness and not without an intriguing personal touch."--Tomas Venclova, Yale University

From the Back Cover
"What this book offers is an extremely detailed account of how, in 1988, Lithuania began a revolution. . . . Knowing this part of the story I can better understand the dramatic developments of 1989 and 1990. Also, by analogy, I have a better sense of what is going on elsewhere in the USSR." (Daniel Chirot, author of The Origins of Backwardness in Eastern Europe)

About the Author
Alfred Erich Senn is Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin. He is the author of The Emergence of Modern Lithuania, as well as three other books and almost 100 articles on Lithuanian history and culture.

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