Aftershock

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...
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Things Fall Apart

Democracy can be messy. In the northeast corner of Spain this week, democracy was downright chaotic. Catalans went to the polls on Sunday to vote in a referendum on whether to stay in Spain or go their separate way. The Spanish authorities, however, declared the vote illegitimate and sent in the national police to disrupt the referendum. In many locales, as the police swept into the polling...
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The Anti-Corruption Revolution

During rush week, aspiring frat boys endure all manner of indignities. They all want to join the exclusive club, and they’re willing to pay the steep initiation fee of risk and embarrassment. One day, they too will be­ seniors who can haze the newbies all they like. Such are the perks of following orders, rising through the ranks, and waiting one’s turn in the hierarchy of power. In...
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The Gunman

Every era has its representative figure. The Neolithic era had the Farmer. The avatar of the Middle Ages was the Monk, bent over an illuminated manuscript. For the period before and after 1492, the Explorer captured the global imagination. During the Industrial Revolution, the Worker embodied the age of manufacturing. And now we have the Gunman. The Gunman is everywhere. He is a soldier. He is a...
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The Hangover (British Version)

It’s the morning after. The British have woken up, dazed and woozy. They’re not exactly sure what happened a few days ago. But one thing is clear: Their political environment is a shambles. Some things are mysteriously missing, like leadership and a whole lot of money ($3 trillion from the stock market). Other things are just as mysteriously present, such as international ridicule. The poor...
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Eastern Europe: Return to Normality?

IT HAS BEEN THE FATE of Central and Eastern Europe — that wedge of territory between what was once the Soviet Union to the east and the European Community to the west — to wrestle with its own “abnormality.” For nearly five decades, the region experienced varying degrees of Soviet-style Communism, from the relatively liberal version enjoyed in Hungary to the more Stalinist model endured...
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