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Books Are Weapons (Paperback)

The Polish Opposition Press and the Overthrow of Communism

Imprint: University of Pittsburgh Press
Series: Russian and East European Studies
Pages: 352
Illustrations: 42 b&w Illustrations
ISBN: 9780822965022
Published: 5th January 2018
Casemate UK Academic

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Much attention has been given to the role of intellectual dissidents, labor, and religion in the  historic overthrow of communism in Poland during the 1980s. Books Are Weapons presents the first English-language study of that which connected them - the press. Siobhan Doucette provides a comprehensive  examination of the Polish opposition’s independent, often underground,  press and its crucial role in the events leading to the historic Round Table and popular elections of 1989. While other studies have emphasized  the role that the Solidarity movement played in bringing about civil  society in 1980-1981, Doucette instead argues that the independent press  was the essential binding element in the establishment of a true civil  society during the mid- to late 1980s.  


Based on a thorough investigation of underground publications and interviews with important activists of the period from 1976 to 1989,  Doucette shows how the independent press, rooted in the long Polish tradition of well-organized resistance to foreign occupation, reshaped  this tradition to embrace nonviolent civil resistance while creating a  network that evolved from a small group of dissidents into a broad opposition movement with cross-national ties and millions of sympathizers. It was the galvanizing force in the resistance to  communism and the rebuilding of Poland’s democratic society.

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