Gregory F. Domber
America, Poland, and the End of the Cold War
University of North Carolina Press 2014
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in Eastern European StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in World AffairsNew Books Network June 23, 2016 Christian Peterson
As the most populous country in Eastern Europe as well as the birthplace of the largest anticommunist dissident movement, Poland is crucial in understanding the end of the Cold War. During the 1980s, both the United States and the Soviet Union vied for influence over Polands politically tumultuous steps toward democratic revolution. In this groundbreaking history, Empowering Revolution: America, Poland, and the End of the Cold War (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), Gregory F. Domber (Professor of History, California State Polytechnic University in San Luis Obispo) examines American policy toward Poland and its promotion of moderate voices within the opposition, while simultaneously addressing the Soviet and European influences on Poland’s revolution in 1989. With a cast including Reagan, Gorbachev, and Pope John Paul II, Domber charts American support of anticommunist opposition groups–particularly Solidarity, the underground movement led by future president Lech Walesa–and highlights the transnational network of Polish emigres and trade unionists that kept the opposition alive. Utilizing archival research and interviews with Polish and American government officials and opposition leaders, Domber argues that the United States empowered a specific segment of the Polish opposition and illustrates how Soviet leaders unwittingly fostered radical, pro-democratic change through their policies. The result is fresh insight into the global impact of the Polish pro-democracy movement.