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Anna Porter

 

Anna Porter on democracy in Central Europe


November 15th 2010

 

Anna Porter’s new book has just been published and is of interest to those involved in Central Europe, including Hungary. Douglas and McIntyre, the book’s publisher describes it this way: Ghosts of Europe: Journeys through Central Europe’s Trouble Past and Uncertain Future is a journalistic tour of what was once known as Mitteleuropa (Central Europe). Bestselling author, Anna Porter, examines the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, and Slovakia and she strives to answer the question “is democracy working.”

From Václav Havel and Radek Sikorski, to the people she encounters on the street, Porter interviews the rich and the poor, revolutionaries who fought for democracy, and youth who have little experience of the former Soviet block. She witnesses contemporary anti-Semitism, discrimination of Roma, Muslim and other ethnic groups, and a rise of fascism.

As Porter observes and engages with current-day Central Europe, she witnesses a region that is striving to build market-driven, democratic societies in the midst of a global financial crisis. Ghosts of Europe discusses the spring 2010 elections, and comments on the region’s disconcerting drift to the political right, including the rise of splinter fascist parties.

Throughout Porter’s in-depth tour of the people, history, and places of Central Europe, a portrait of Europe emerges: a region struggling under the weight of history and memory; people divided over half-forgotten events; old ethnic rivalries; and borders being drawn, and redrawn. Ghosts of Europe explores tyranny, nationalism, racism, and denial in nations with a tumultuous past and an uncertain future.

Anna Porter has previously written five books, including The Storyteller, an acclaimed memoir about her grandfather, the bestseller Kasztner’s Train and three novels. She was born and spent her early childhood in Hungary before moving to New Zealand and then to Canada. she lives in Toronto.

The Globe and Mail ‘s review of September 24th 2010 can be found here.

 

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