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Dark Continent: Europe’s 20th Century 
by Mark Mazower.
Penguin, 496 pp., £20, March 1998, 0 7139 9159 3
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... Back in the now remote summer of 1990, when we were still celebrating the birth of a ‘new Europe’, a book was published simultaneously in several European languages. Written by Jean-Baptiste Duroselle and entitled, in the English edition, Europe: A History of Its Peoples, it is a classic example of the Whig interpretation of European history, a historical supplement to Jacques Delors ...

Comparative Horrors

Timothy GartonAsh: Delatology, 19 March 1998

Accusatory Practices: Denunciation in Modern European History, 1789-1989 
edited by Sheila Fitzpatrick and Robert Gellately.
Chicago, 231 pp., $27.95, September 1997, 0 226 25273 6
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... I recently received a letter from a German theatre director, objecting to a passage of my book The File in which I wrote that, back in the Stalinist Fifties, an East German friend of mine had been ‘denounced’ by one Dr Warmbier, then a lecturer in Marxism-Leninism at Leipzig University. ‘It’s the word “denounced” that is wholly inappropriate,’ the director wrote, in defence of his old friend Dr Warmbier ...

Getting it wrong

Misha Glenny, 24 February 1994

In Europe’s Name 
by Timothy GartonAsh.
Cape, 680 pp., £25, October 1993, 0 224 02054 4
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... two grew apart. ‘To say that Germany had become normal since unification was common sense,’ Timothy GartonAsh writes towards the end of In Europe’s Name. ‘Anyone who thought that it was normal to live with a wall through Berlin was not quite normal. It was more normal to take a bus from the ...


Slavoj Žižek: Leftist Platitudes, 2 September 2004

Free World: Why a Crisis of the West Reveals the Opportunity of Our Time 
by Timothy GartonAsh.
Allen Lane, 308 pp., £17.99, July 2004, 0 7139 9764 8
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... the ancien régime, and were then forced to build monuments to their own revolutionary past. Timothy GartonAsh would appreciate this tragicomic accident: it comes close to the spirit of ethically engaged irony that permeates his best work. Although he is my political opponent, I always consider him worth reading ...

How was it for you?

David Blackbourn, 30 October 1997

Man Without a Face: The Memoirs of a Spymaster 
by Markus Wolf and Anne McElvoy.
Cape, 367 pp., £17.99, June 1997, 0 224 04498 2
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The File: A Personal History 
by Timothy GartonAsh.
HarperCollins, 227 pp., £12.99, July 1997, 0 00 255823 8
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... European Marxist intellectual, an Ernst Fischer or Isaac Deutscher fallen among Stalinists. Timothy GartonAsh met Wolf while working on The File and felt both the charm and the deep-seated denial. Wolf, he suggests, was the Albert Speer of East Germany, another argument from moral equivalence that ...

Probably, Perhaps

Dan Jacobson: Wilhelm von Habsburg, 14 August 2008

The Red Prince: The Fall of a Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Europe 
by Timothy Snyder.
Bodley Head, 344 pp., £20, June 2008, 978 0 224 08152 8
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... any group, the Communists aside, that he hoped might put him in a post appropriate to his rank. Timothy Snyder, the author of this biography-cum-history, holds a chair at Yale and has written accounts of the rise and collapse of kingdoms and popular movements in Eastern and Central Europe. Garlanded with encomia from ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Meaney: Ersatz Tyrants, 4 May 2017

... Timothy Snyder​ , a historian of Modern Eastern Europe at Yale and the most rhetorically gifted defender of the anti-Russian US foreign policy establishment, must have been rubbing his eyes in wonder last year as the theatrics of the Republican primary gave way to the rise of an ersatz Führer. How to describe those private security men ejecting protesters from rallies if not as the first recruits to an American SS? How long until the diatribes against Muslims were followed by a demand that they wear yellow crescents on their lapels? What is the Wall if not a way to secure an American Lebensraum? As the cabinet appointments snapped into place, there was Rex Tillerson, ready to renew the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, while Trump’s economic advisers seethed about trade deficits as if they were unjust war reparations ...

Who would have thought it?

Neal Ascherson, 8 March 1990

The Uses of Adversity 
by Timothy GartonAsh.
Granta, 352 pp., £5.99, September 1989, 0 14 014018 2
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... would fulfil the required standards better than Vaclav Havel. But how about this – Tim Garton Ash writing about the Czech Chartists in 1984? If ever a real thaw comes – from above? after change in Moscow? – they will be ready with their busts of Tomas Masaryk, their editions of Franz Kafka and their memorials to Jan Palach. They know from ...

A Ripple of the Polonaise

Perry Anderson: Work of the Nineties, 25 November 1999

History of the Present: Essays, Sketches and Despatches from Europe in the Nineties 
by Timothy GartonAsh.
Allen Lane, 441 pp., £20, June 1999, 0 7139 9323 5
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... the three Anglo-musketeers regularly featured in the New York Review of Books: Neal Ascherson and Timothy GartonAsh (spurs won in Eastern Europe) and Ian Buruma (in East Asia). United by common liberal convictions, the trio are otherwise quite distinct. Garton Ash, a generation ...

Short Cuts

Stephen Sedley: Anonymity, 19 January 2017

... a marketplace of ideas, where the true drives out the false. If anything, the converse is true. Timothy GartonAsh, acknowledging in his book Free Speech the ubiquity of lies in American political argument, responds: ‘Yet at least in most democratic countries there are two (or more) competing false narratives, and ...


Peter Pulzer: In East Berlin, 19 April 1990

... in the peace of the graveyard. ‘Why did it happen? And why did it happen so quickly?’ asks Timothy GartonAsh in his splendid new We the people.* I merely jib at the ‘and’, for it is evident now that the rulers of the GDR were right when they asserted that orthodox Marxism-Leninism was the sole raison ...

Self-Disclosing Days

Jenny Turner, 23 April 1992

Holograms of Fear 
by Slavenka Drakulic, translated by Ellen Elias-Barsaic and Slavenka Drakulic.
Hutchinson, 184 pp., £13.99, January 1992, 0 09 174994 8
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Revolution From Within 
by Gloria Steinem.
Bloomsbury, 377 pp., £14.99, January 1992, 0 7475 1006 7
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How we survived Communism and even laughed 
by Slavenka Drakulic.
Hutchinson, 193 pp., £15.99, January 1992, 0 09 174925 5
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... a handful of simple, grabbing truths in it is the sort of book everybody can buy and linger over. Timothy Garton-Ash has done it several times already, so why shouldn’t she? Warsaw, Sofia, Budapest, Prague, all cities in which women make soup and grumble about their menfolk in their overcrowded apartments, blur into ...

What are we allowed to say?

David Bromwich, 22 September 2016

... of thousands), surveillance promotes safety for the sake of community. They are believers in what Timothy GartonAsh calls ‘a connected world’.Garton Ash is a classical liberal with hopes for the attainment of a culture of international tolerance and freedom. His book Free ...

A Little Swine

Sheila Fitzpatrick: On Snitching, 3 November 2005

Comrade Pavlik: The Rise and Fall of a Soviet Boy Hero 
by Catriona Kelly.
Granta, 352 pp., £17.99, May 2005, 1 86207 747 9
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... to a lawyer, due process, the right to a trial.’ Reviewing our book in the LRB on 19 March 1998, Timothy GartonAsh took a sterner view, describing the whole comparison between Stalinist denouncers and American whistle-blowers as ‘a ludicrous piece of pseudo-liberal moral relativism’. In the light of recent ...

What Is Great about Ourselves

Pankaj Mishra: Closing Time, 21 September 2017

The Retreat of Western Liberalism 
by Edward Luce.
Little, Brown, 240 pp., £16.99, May 2017, 978 1 4087 1041 8
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The Fate of the West: Battle to Save the World’s Most Successful Political Idea 
by Bill Emmott.
Economist, 257 pp., £22, May 2017, 978 1 61039 780 3
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The Road to Somewhere: The Populist Revolt and the Future of Politics 
by David Goodhart.
Hurst, 256 pp., £20, March 2017, 978 1 84904 799 9
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The Once and Future Liberal: After Identity Politics 
by Mark Lilla.
Harper, 143 pp., £20, August 2017, 978 0 06 269743 1
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The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam 
by Douglas Murray.
Bloomsbury, 343 pp., £18.99, May 2017, 978 1 4729 4224 1
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... the Opportunity of our Times (2004), an early dirge about the waning of Anglo-American power, Timothy GartonAsh approvingly quoted a Canadian friend as saying that the trouble with Britain is that ‘it doesn’t know what story it wants to tell.’ This was certainly true of New Labour, which had invested heavily ...

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