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Richard Rose, William Mishler, and Christian Haerpfer: Democracy and Its Alternatives: Understanding Post-Communist Societies. (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998. Pp. xiv, 270. $49.00. $16.95, paper.)
The collapse of Communist regimes in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union has inspired a formidable body of literature on political and economic transitions; it has also stimulated some interesting transitions in the academic sphere. A number of scholars who had established their reputations through their work on capitalist societies, notably those of Western and Southern Europe and Latin America, have turned their attention to the process of change in the former Communist states. The attraction of the region as a laboratory for exploring a variety of pivotal concerns of political theory and analysis is understandable; rarely have political institutions been altered so quickly and populations been required to adapt so rapidly to a drastically changed political, economic, and social environment. Moreover, the newly freed Eastern states offered close to a virgin terrain for the application of empirical research techniques that had become standard practice in the West but had rarely been permitted by the former Communist rulers.
Scholars who had specialized in studying the region prior to 1989 often …