Book: „Free to hate: the rise of the right in post-communist Eastern Europe”

Routledge, 1993

Combining first-hand reporting, original documentation, and astute political analysis, Free to Hate is the first major work in English to investigate the rise of the ultra-nationalist and radical right-wing movements that swept Central and Eastern Europe in the aftermath of 1989. In this powerful volume, the author provides an account of the emergence and contemporary relevance of far right movements in countries including Germany, Hungary, Romania, and Poland. In addition, he discusses neo-Nazi youth subculture, anti-Semitism, racism, minority issues, and the revision of history in the post-communist states.

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Review Excerpts

The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe was followed by a resurgence of nationalism that easily swelled into violence. Hockenos, Eastern European correspondent for In These Times, here conducts us on a sobering tour of a region newly “free to hate.” Proceeding country by country, he offers a closely reasoned account not only of events but of the possible cause of right-wing ethnic hatreds. Fair-minded enough to present different theories, he finally concludes that the young thugs who perpetuate this violence–with the passive support of a surprisingly large percentage of their elders–are not alienated misfits but the legacy of “the authoritarian, petty bourgeois mindset that the state had nurtured.” Hockenos does not rely solely on a journalist’s knack for anecdote to convey his ideas; his text fairly bristles with facts and figures evidently gleaned from careful research and may therefore be a bit daunting to the average reader. Still, anyone interested in the fate of Eastern Europe will want to read this book.
– Library Journal

“…a pioneering and readable account of the rise of the extreme right in contemporary Eastern Europe.” – The Washington Post

“Hockenos has done a fine job of unravelling the right’s many strains, connecting the different movements to their historical, religious or cultural antecedents….” – Toronto Globe and Mail

“Hockenos provides the best English-language account of how a neofascist underground developed in the self-avowed antifascist state.” – The Progressive

Hockenos, a journalist based in Germany and widely traveled in Eastern Europe, has written more than a journalist’s account of the misdeeds, the vengeful calls to old hatreds and the bloodshed. He has pieced together a detailed report on the complex quilt of groups emerging in East Germany, Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic who they are, where they come from and, of particular note, where their causes and appeals shade into the unsavory flings of mainstream political parties. – Foreign Affairs



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