Now out from Zed Books. Available here.
A quarter of a century after the fall of communism, novelist and journalist John Feffer returned to Eastern Europe to track down the hundreds of people he spoke to in the initial atmosphere of optimism as the Iron Curtain fell. Aftershock is the sensational account of that journey. Revealing the broken dreams of a remarkable cast of characters, this is the epic story of a region that against great odds is still fighting for a brighter future.
Marta Figlerowicz, Boston Review, February 28, 2018: “In Aftershock, the novelist, journalist, and political scholar John Feffer attempts to view these stories from a middle distance: a point of view broader than a participant’s, if also less aerial than a professional historian’s. Through interviews with Eastern Europeans from all walks of life—politicians, activists, academics, blue-collar workers, clerks, and Ikea managers—he pieces together an affective and cultural history of post-communism. Aftershock gives its reader a panoramic view of the fantasies and hopes through which recently post-communist societies interpreted their ongoing transformations to themselves.”
Paul Rosenberg, Salon, January 21, 2018: “Feffer’s book is so important. Compared to the rest of the world, Eastern Europe is a relative success—and the same can be said about America, even after the election of Donald Trump. If the first half of Aftershock can be read as a warning of what might befall us in the years ahead, then the second half can be read as an inspiration about what we can do to prevent it.”
‘John Feffer is our 21st-century Jack London.’
Mike Davis, author of Planet of Slums
‘John Feffer brings to this story a traveller’s eye, a rich store of experiences, and a wise perspective. His thoughtful book is a reminder that few nations, anywhere, easily throw off the heritage of tyranny.’
Adam Hochschild, author of Spain in our Hearts and King Leopold’s Ghost
‘Both a merciless political history and a compassionate political psychology of central and eastern Europe’s post-Cold War transformation.’
Miklos Haraszti, UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Belarus
‘An essential account of our post-liberal times.’
Padraic Kenney, author of A Carnival of Revolution: Central Europe, 1989
‘A brisk, vivid and wide-ranging survey of a region in the grip of neoliberalism. As Feffer makes clear, this is hardly just a book about Eastern Europe, as the challenges there now seem to be spreading throughout the world. Feffer’s sense of the future evinces both pessimism of the mind and optimism of the will.’
Lawrence Weschler, author of Vermeer in Bosnia and Calamities of Exile
‘A breath-taking whirlwind tour through the transformations of eastern Europe over the past 30 years. With its account of the travails of contemporary capitalism, it is also astonishingly relevant for understanding pressing political problems in the United States as well.’
David Ost, author of The Defeat of Solidarity: Anger and Politics in Post-Communist Europe