The Magic Lantern
(March 21, 2009)
Amazing things happen. A contemporary historian of Eastern European dissent finds himself, wide-eyed and amazed as anyone, visiting his old friends and interview subjects as the world transforms. Friends and informants are still in their customary haunts, drinking their drinks and smoking their cigars and talking about art and politics, but suddenly they find themselves negotiating with governments and representing millions and knowing, in their tiny ad hoc theaters, that the whole world is watching. Neither a history nor a memoir, but rather a striking impression of events as they unfolded around an informed observer who often found himself at the right place.