Timothy Garton Ash

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Books in English (US)

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This is a list of Timothy Garton Ash's books published in the USA, with newer titles first:

Free Speech

Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World

Never in human history was there such a chance for freedom of expression. If we have Internet access, any one of us can publish almost anything we like and potentially reach an audience of millions. Never was there a time when the evils of unlimited speech flowed so easily across frontiers: violent intimidation, gross violations of privacy, tidal waves of abuse. A pastor burns a Koran in Florida and UN officials die in Afghanistan.

Drawing on a lifetime of writing about dictatorships and dissidents, Timothy Garton Ash argues that in this connected world that he calls cosmopolis, the way to combine freedom and diversity is to have more but also better free speech. Across all cultural divides we must strive to agree on how we disagree. He draws on a thirteen-language global online project - freespeechdebate.com - conducted out of Oxford University and devoted to doing just that.

With vivid examples, from his personal experience of China's Orwellian censorship apparatus to the controversy around Charlie Hebdo to a very English court case involving food writer Nigella Lawson, he proposes a framework for civilized conflict in a world where we are all becoming neighbours.

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Free World

Facts Are Subversive

"During times of universal deceit", wrote George Orwell, "telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act." For twenty-five years, Timothy Garton Ash has travelled among truth-tellers and political charlatans to record, with scalpel-sharp precision, what he has found. This book confirms his reputation as our foremost cartographer of the present. Facts are Subversive contains Garton Ash's eye-witness accounts of the fate of countries, including Serbia, Poland and Ukraine, making the transition from authoritarianism to democracy, and his dispatches from places such as Egypt, Burma and Iran, where that transformation has yet to take place.

It also investigates freedom and its discontents. An encounter with the drug gangs of Sao Paulo raises questions about liberal democracy; a visit to New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina shows how quickly civilization can give way to chaos; while an examination of immigration in Europe raises profound questions about the limits of multiculturalism. Facts are Subversive also includes Garton Ash’s reportage on the American presidential election of 2008 and his assessments of what Barack Obama will mean for United States and the world.

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Free World

Free World : America, Europe, and the Surprising Future of the West (Paperback)

Colossal events such as the fall of France during World War II or the dismantling of the Berlin Wall create seismic shifts in geopolitics. Alliances are broken or forged. Power and influence are redistributed. According to Timothy Garton Ash, author of Free World: Why a Crisis in the West Reveals the Opportunity of Our Time, the September 11 terrorist attacks and the subsequent war in Iraq have produced such a crisis in the West. French and German opposition to America's war have signaled a severe rift between these one-time staunch allies and have raised questions about European identity, the role of Britain in this struggle, the direction of U.S. foreign policy, and most important, the spread of freedom and democracy to the poor and voiceless millions in the developing world.

France's attempt to become the voice of the European Union and to defy the will of the U.S. marks a departure from an age-old power structure. Or does it? In clear and engaging prose, Ash, an expert on European-American relations, places the crisis in a historical context dating back to the Second World War. Ash maintains that the future of the West depends on the EU's choice between Gaullism (Europe as "not-America"), or Churchill-style Atlanticism (Europe as a partner of the U.S. with England providing the bridge between the two). At the same time, the world's hyperpower, the U.S., must decide if it will continue to pursue unilaterally its foreign policy of self-interest combined with a Wilsonian edict to spread democracy, or embrace the kind of transatlantic interdependence that already exists in the business world. Wisely, Ash cautions against oversimplification and effectively deflates the myth that there is one America or one Europe. He shows that "There are not two separate sets of values, European and American, but several intersecting sets of values." Therefore, he urges cooperation between these two great powers. Only then, says Ash, can the West reverse its potential decline and spread its legacy of democracy and freedom to the "unfree" world.

See the book's companion website for more information, and debate centred around the book's topics: FreeWorldWeb.

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History of the Present

History of the Present: Essays, Sketches and Despatches from Europe in the 1990s

The 1990s. An extraordinary decade in Europe. At its beginning, the old order collapsed along with the Berlin Wall. Everything seemed possible. Everyone hailed a brave new Europe. But no one knew what this new Europe would look like. Now we know. Most of Western Europe has launched into the unprecedented gamble of monetary union, though Britain stands aside. Germany, peacefully united, with its capital in Berlin, is again the most powerful country in Europe. The Central Europeans - Poles, Czechs, Hungarians - have made successful transitions from communism to capitalism and have joined NATO. But farther east and south, in the territories of the former Soviet Union and the former Yugoslavia, the continent has descended into a bloody swamp of poverty, corruption, criminality, war, and bestial atrocities such as we never thought would be seen again in Europe.

Timothy Garton Ash chronicles this formative decade through a glittering collection of essays, sketches, and dispatches written as history was being made. He joins the East Germans for their decisive vote for unification and visits their former leader in prison. He accompanies the Poles on their roller-coaster ride from dictatorship to democracy. He uncovers the motives for monetary union in Paris and Bonn. He walks in mass demonstrations in Belgrade and travels through the killing fields of Kosovo. Occasionally, he even becomes an actor in a drama he describes: debating Germany with Margaret Thatcher or the role of the intellectual with Václav Havel in Prague. Ranging from Vienna to Saint Petersburg, from Britain to Ruthenia, Garton Ash reflects on how "the single great conflict" of the cold war has been replaced by many smaller ones. And he asks what part the United States still has to play. Sometimes he takes an eagle's-eye view, considering the present attempt to unite Europe against the background of a thousand years of such efforts. But often he swoops to seize one telling human story: that of a wiry old farmer in Croatia, a newspaper editor in Warsaw, or a bitter, beautiful survivor from Sarajevo.

His eye is sharp and ironic but always compassionate. History of the Present continues the work that Garton Ash began with his trilogy of books about Central Europe in the 1980s, combining the crafts of journalism and history. In his Introduction, he argues that we should not wait until the archives are opened before starting to write the history of our own times. Then he shows how it can be done.

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The File

The File: A Personal History

In 1978 a romantic young Englishman took up residence in Berlin to see what that divided city could teach him about tyranny and freedom. Fifteen years later Timothy Garton Ash - who was by then famous for his reportage of the downfall of communism in Central Europe - returned. This time he had come to look at a file that bore the code-name "Romeo." The file had been compiled by the Stasi, the East German secret police, with the assistance of dozens of informers. And it contained a meticulous record of Garton Ash's earlier life in Berlin.

In this memoir, Garton Ash describes what it was like to rediscover his younger self through the eyes of the Stasi, and then to go on to confront those who actually informed against him to the secret police. Moving from document to remembrance, from the offices of British intelligence to the living rooms of retired Stasi officers, The File is a personal narrative as gripping, as disquieting, and as morally provocative as any fiction by George Orwell or Graham Greene. And it is all true.

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In Europe's Name

In Europe's Name: Germany and the Divided Continent

This well-documented and detailed account of German reunification spans the period from Yalta right up to 1990 when the Berlin Wall crumbled and East Germans poured through the crack to the West. Ash, author of numerous books on Central Europe, uses mostly German source documents, many of which became available only recently with the collapse of East Germany. The centerpiece of his book is the history of "ostpolitik" and how it fit into West German foreign policy goals, especially toward the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. Ostpolitik is also analyzed as a strictly German response to the so-called German question. West Germany's relations with the United States take a back seat to Bonn's relations with the Soviet Union, East Germany, and Europe as a whole.

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The Magic Lantern

The Magic Lantern: The Revolution of '89 Witnessed in Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin and Prague

The Magic Lantern is one of those rare books that define a historic moment, written by a brilliant witness who was also a participant in epochal events. Whether covering Poland's first free parliamentary elections - in which Solidarity found itself in the position of trying to limit the scope of its victory - or sitting in at the meetings of an unlikely coalition of bohemian intellectuals and Catholic clerics orchestrating the liberation of Czechoslovakia, Garton Ash writes with enormous sympathy and power.

In this book - now with a new Afterword by the author - Garton Ash creates a stunningly evocative portrait of the revolutions that swept Communism from Eastern Europe in 1989 and whose after-effects will resonate for years to come.

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The Uses of Adversity

The Uses of Adversity: Essays on the Fate of Central Europe

During the historic changes in Central Europe in the 1980s, the author travelled behind the iron curtain, talking to dissidents and ordinary people and discovering the subterranean movements that were to erupt in 1989.

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The Polish Revolution: Solidarity

In August 1980, workers occupied the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk and won from their communist rulers the right to form independent trades unions - a concession unprecendented in the history of the communist world. In this eyewitness account Timothy Garton Ash describes the brave defiance of the strikers, the emergence of an improbable leader and hero in Lech Walesa and the tumultuous events of the next sixteen months, culminating in the declaration of martial law.

His lucid and profound analysis explores key questions such as: Why did the revolution happen in Poland? What was the relationship between Solidarity and the communist regime? What changes did it bring about in the whole Soviet bloc? How did the West react to Solidarity?

In a new postscript written specially for the new edition, Timothy Garton Ash discusses Solidarity's long underground struggle, its triumphant return in 1989 and the ironies of its subsequent fate.

Out of Print - Buy in UK