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  • [A] brilliant and perceptive book about a part of the world, as [Shore] explains, ‘where the past is palpable and heavy’ ... part memoir, part reportage, a treatise on the philosophy of history, and part romance written with lyrical beauty in placesthere’s an interesting and original idea on almost every page.

  • Part-memoir, part-intellectual history, Shore’s book follows her journey into the heart of the Polish and Czech intelligentsia, exploring their reactions to and involvement in the Holocaust, the purges and the revolutions that dominate 20th century Eastern European history….poignant and thought-provoking.

    Sunday Times
  • Her fine book is a very personal account of the people that she came to know in eastern Europe after the end of Soviet domination in 1989… The novelty of Shore’s approach lies in her focus on the families of Poland’s Stalinists.

    Financial Times
  • [Shore’s] kaleidoscope book of reminiscences and encounters gives an authentic feel to the difficulties that outsiders often have in making sense of this intricate history…Ms Shore…does an excellent job of bringing to life the still rancorous relations between Jews of rival persuasions.

    The Economist
  • Beautifully written, brilliantly perceptive and often moving… With the opening of the archives, many excellent histories of communist eastern Europe have appeared in recent years… but I cannot think of any that succeed so well as this. In combining subtle historical judgements with literary flair, Shore has produced a masterpiece.

    BBC History Magazine

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