This book serves a real need in current reference literature. The bewildering history of political parties in post-Communist Eastern Europe is at once a centerpiece of the region’s democratic transition and a source of persistent confusion. There exists a volatile array of party names, personalities, and movements, and Bugajski (director, East European Studies, Ctr. for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC) appears to have neglected none of them among the countries he treats. Also, after more than a decade since the collapse of Eastern European communism, a sufficient history of regional electoral activity has accrued to make this book’s painstakingly assembled data of particular value for comparative research. Country entries balance a broad account of each state’s history with descriptions of all parties, including small ethnic and local groups, an especially valuable feature for the Balkan nations. An introductory essay called “Pluralism and Democratization” offers a workmanlike if uncritical review of the current literature and most major questions on the transition. Finally, separate indexes of party and personal names enhance the book’s utility. This work’s major weakness is its exclusion of Russia and parts of the former Soviet Union outside of Europe, yet the cost and the length of the present volume suggest that a single comprehensive work would have been especially difficult to prepare. Although a book of this scope can be recommended comfortably for what it includes, some libraries may consider it preferable to invest in the current edition of Political Parties of the World.
Political Parties of Eastern Europe: A Guide to Politics in the Post-Communist Era
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