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Rothschild does not deal with the Baltics or other republics of the former Soviet Union. He treats Poland, Hungary, the former Czechoslovakia, the former Yugoslavia, Romania, Bulgaria, and Albania in their respective sections in each chapter.
His introductory background chapters, one on the interwar period and an even longer one on WW II are excellent summaries, considering Rothschild has already written the classic on _East Central Europe between the Two World Wars_.
I used _Return to Diversity_ both as a student ten years ago, and recently to teach a course on the politics of Eastern Europe; I was very happy to find it still being published. Going back through it, I was amazed how consistently Rothschild treats each country on the topics of leadership politics, economic development, social relationships vis-a-vis each regime, the extent of opposition and civil society, and foreign relations. He did it so well that I was able to construct a one-page "grille" of essential, quick and dirty information to help students compare countries (after having them concentrate on two countries each).
Not only is this book perfect to catch students up on communist history in the most efficient way, I personally find it invaluable to verify basic facts and details quickly. Country specialists will, of course, need to look elsewhere for details for which surveys simply don't have the space.
The updated chapter on post-communist politics (presumably where most of Dr. Wingfield's contribution comes in) is good as far as it goes, but frankly, you'll find more thorough treatments of post-communist Eastern Europe elsewhere in more space than this volume has available.
Overall, this book is well worth the money and easily merits five stars. The style of writing may put some laypeople and students off, but the fact is that Rothschild writes very eloquently as an "old school" historian, and if it sometimes seems dry, it's because of all the information he managed to cram into it. I repeat, this book is the best survey of communist Eastern Europe out there, and will no doubt remain so for some time to come.
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