Thursday, November 18, 2010

Book Review: Communism Versus Democracy- Bulgaria 1944 To 1977

By Todd Rutherford

Filled with thought-provoking detail and harrowing historical facts, Communism versus
Democracy- Bulgaria 1944 to 1977 provides an in-depth picture of Bulgaria's recent history (1944-1997). The text strives to educate readers on Communism and to provide insight into historical truth using a series of primary sources and eyewitness accounts. Nassya Kralevska-Owens employs her journalistic style to keep the narrative interesting, without losing its focus on factual events.

The theme of the work revolves around Communism, Cold War, and Bulgarian history at the end of the twentieth century. While there are myriad dense topics that would normally be difficult to comprehend, Communism versus Democracy features fluid sentence structure and clarity of concepts. Indeed, all readers-casual and avid-will better understand the history of Eastern Europe by empathizing with the plight of those that lived through-and survived this distressing time in history.

This documentary chronicles the heightened tensions and the inevitable abdication of Communist dictator Todor Zhivkov. Kralevska-Owens precisely portrays the clash between loyalists of the Communist era and the democratic leaders, looking for a way to forge a new future for Bulgaria, and Eastern Europe as a whole. This book offers new insight into the rise of the Bulgarian Communist Party, which consisted of a mere 6000 members. It discusses the fatal consequences for Bulgaria and its inhabitants as a result.

The author, understanding that validity is paramount for a documentary of such grand scope, supports the premise of the book with interviews from leading politicians, statesmen, and pro-democratic activists, confessions, archives, documents, historical books, newspapers and other publications, eye-witnesses, and excerpts from personal diaries. She pursues these sources from a journalist's "air of truth" perspective. Astonishingly, interviews included such preeminent figures as the first Democratic Prime Minister of Bulgaria.

On a stylistic level, this is a must-read for anyone who is interested in learning about Bulgaria's political history and the truth about Communism. Unlike the cumbersome blocked form of traditional history texts, Kralevska-Owens transitions smoothly through time periods, giving Communism versus Democracy a distinctly novelistic texture. Ultimately, the position that resonates soundly in Communism versus Democracy- Bulgaria 1944 to 1977 is that communism is a form of government that simply does not work in practice and inevitably leads to chaos. The book is available at

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