Triggering Communism's Collapse: Perceptions and Power in Poland's Transition

The third book in the series, Triggering Communism’s Collapse: Perceptions and Power in Poland’s Transition by Marjorie Castle, an assistant professor of political science at the University of Utah, was published in mid-2003.  Editorial and production work on the book was funded with a grant from the Olin Foundation. Triggering Communism’s Collapse explores the disintegration of Communism in Poland in the late 1980s and the implications for theories of social movements and political change.  A review of the book in Choice praised it as an “excellent analysis of the 1989 elections in Poland that heralded the beginning of the anticommunist revolutions in that year within Eastern Europe.”  Castle recounts the demise of Communism in Poland in the late 1980s and the transition to a non-Communist government headed by Tadeusz Mazowiecki of Solidarity. Relying on Polish archival materials and many other sources, Castle provides a meticulous discussion of the “round-table talks” in early 1989, the June 1989 parliamentary elections, which resulted in an overwhelming victory for Solidarity, and the transfer of power to Mazowiecki’s government in August-September 1989.  By placing the Polish case into the wider context of change in Eastern Europe, she not only adds to the historical record, but also sheds light on the implications of her analysis for the theoretical literature on transitions from authoritarian to democratic rule, on social movements, and on political change.