Underwriting Democracy: Encouraging Free Enterprise and Democratic Reform among the Soviets and in Eastern Europe

Soros, George

George Soros has done more for open societies than any other private citizen in the world. In Underwriting Democracy he describes his experiences helping to bring about democratic change in Eastern Europe--experiences that are especially relevant now that our country has begun to intervene (though in an entirely different way than Soros) to create functioning democracies. Throughout the 1980s George Soros worked to identify and fund the growing political movements that caused the downfall of Eastern Europe's Communist governments. He established foundations, first in his native Hungary, and then in eight other countries, and used them to finance everything from the installation of previously forbidden copying machines in public libraries to the creation of experimental schools, clubs, and workshops for the support of dissidents. This unprecedented, and brilliant, financial and logistical support helped to bring down the communist regimes in peaceful revolutions across the continent. These are thrilling stories about facing down--and getting past--the Communist party powers in order to change these nations from the inside out. Editorial Reviews Library Journal During the 18th and 19th centuries, travelers visited Russia to explore that vast, unknown state; they also brought ideas and schemes for building a modern state. Perestroika has attracted a similar breed who bring money to make money, or who bring money to finance ideas to make money. Soros, a self-proclaimed ``confirmed egoist'' with ``potent messianic fantasies,'' is one of these. In this book, he describes his ``work directed at opening up closed societies.'' Soros says any hope of saving the Soviet Union is ``irretrievably lost,'' but that a new equilibrium will soon emerge. His goal is to personally help guide Communist states through a gentle transition to sophisticated, open societies. Soros the messiah needs more humility and less ego to secure the goal he aims for. An optional purchase for general collections.-- John Yurechko, George town Univ., Washington, D.C.

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