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Paris Book Festival Names Ellen Hinsey’s Mastering the Past for Top Honors

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Ellen Hinsey’s Mastering the Past: Contemporary Central and Eastern Europe and the Rise of Illiberalism has been announced as the winner of the 2017 Paris Book Festival, which honors the best of international publishing.

A study of a critical shift in the European political landscape, Mastering the Past examines how populism, nationalism, and authoritarian rule have returned a quarter of a century after the changes following the Soviet Union’s collapse. Eyewitness reports examine the key events of that time and relate them to current conditions.

Hinsey’s outstanding research and interpretation of the events provide fascinating insights on what is happening in this key corner of the globe, making it well worthy of international attention from the publishing community.

Praise for Ellen Hinsey’s Mastering the Past

“Ellen Hinsey writes with power and passion: this is a formidable feast of research and interpretation. Her book is necessary and timely reading for anyone who wants to understand events in Central and Eastern Europe.”
John S. Friedman, author and contributor to The Nation

“Ellen Hinsey’s book is a profound study that deals with a recent menacing—but not-yet-fully described or understood—phenomenon: the rebirth of backward nationalist attitudes in Eastern Europe. Based on first-hand experience, and making exemplary use of the author’s contacts with dissident intellectuals in many countries, it is an indispensable work for specialists and simply fascinating for the general reader.”
Tomas Venclova, Lithuanian dissident and author

“Anyone interested in understanding current events in Europe needs to read this book. Hinsey writes with clarity, compassion, and insight about the people who are shaping and reshaping Europe and the world. Her voice is resolute, factual, and, believe me, to be trusted. Not to be missed.”
Peter Fray, former editor-in-chief of the Sydney Morning Herald

“Since 1989 Ellen Hinsey has traveled through Germany, Russia, Hungary, Poland, and the Czech Republic, translating her experiences of the tumult of post–Cold War politics into these intellectually rigorous and morally urgent essays. Hinsey encourages us to the tentative hope, articulated by Hannah Arendt, that ‘perhaps thought itself can help us survive the dangers.'”
Susan McKay, author and journalist for The Guardian

About the Author

Ellen Hinsey is an award-winning writer, essayist, poet, and translator who works at the crossroads of literature, history, philosophy, and politics. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Irish Times, and Der Tagesspiegel. Her other books include Update on the Descent and The White Fire of Time.

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