Essay on Comparison between The Taste of Ashes and Post Communist Nostalgia

Essay on Comparison between The Taste of Ashes and Post Communist Nostalgia

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This essay will discuss two books, Marci Shore’s The Taste of Ashes and Maria Todorova and Zsuzsa Gille Post-Communist Nostalgia. Both books deal with post-communist Europe and use memory as a tool for their research. While Shore writes in a more personal narrative she gives us the realization that even when we rid countries of tyranny and coercion this does not in any way make these places better. In fact, things get far more complicated. It becomes evident that research has shown how you cannot throw people from a former communist regime into something democratic and expect it to automatically gain smooth running or for these people to know how to carry on as normal, while having the burden of being expected to block out their communist past and start afresh. We cannot assume that nothing could have been worse than dictatorship, so believing that whatever follows is evidently going to be something far better. This is the point Shore makes in her ‘Taste of Ashes’. This is different to post-communist nostalgia as it delivers a more personal tale from the author herself, writing about her own encounters with these countries. Shore explains that her book is a deeply subjective one, writing in the first person, owning the perspective of a young American women who wanders into a completely different world. Attempting to untangle the dark mysteries of Polish-Jewish relations, speaking primarily to those who experienced it all first hand, these people have been named and not named. Shore separates this book into a lengthily 27 chapters, which may immediately strike the reader as daunting. However, each chapter is arguably the perfect length, giving the book a great layout. This book moves forward in time from the early 1990’s through t...

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... are two different analyses, however they can be joined together in order to see things in a different light. Which we have from these two works on post-communism. Memory makes claims about the past, while history backs these claims up with fact and evidence. However, in terms of personal memory, historians have no way of really confirming whether or not it is real historic fact of fiction. This is where the difference between personal memory and history come into play. However, both books break some interesting ground in terms of post-communist memory and could be useful to those studying not only memory but history, sociology and perhaps psychoanalysis.

Works Cited

Shore, Marci The Taste of Ashes: The Afterlife of Totalitarianism in Eastern Europe ( New York,2013)
Todorova, Maria and Zsuza Gille Post-Communist Nostalgia (Berghahn Books, Oxford, 2012)

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