Dancing Bears: True Stories of People Nostalgic for Life under Tyranny

By Witold Szabłowski
Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones
Directed by Claire Bloom
Read by Stefan Rudnicki

6.80 Hours 03/06/2018 unabridged
Format: Digital Download (20Tracks) (In Stock)
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For hundreds of years, Bulgarian Gypsies trained bears to dance, welcoming them into their families and taking them on the road to perform. In the early 2000s, with the fall of Communism, they were forced to release the bears into a wildlife refuge. But even today, whenever the bears see a human, they still get up on their hind legs to dance. In the tradition of Ryszard Kapuściński, award-winning Polish journalist, Witold Szabłowski uncovers remarkable stories of people throughout Eastern Europe and in Cuba who, like Bulgaria’s dancing bears, are now free but who seem nostalgic for the time when they were not. His on-the-ground accounts provide a fascinating portrait of social and economic upheaval and a lesson in the challenges of freedom and the seductions of authoritarian rule.

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Summary

Summary

A New York Times Editor’s Choice

For hundreds of years, Bulgarian Gypsies trained bears to dance, welcoming them into their families and taking them on the road to perform. In the early 2000s, with the fall of Communism, they were forced to release the bears into a wildlife refuge. But even today, whenever the bears see a human, they still get up on their hind legs to dance.

In the tradition of Ryszard Kapuściński, award-winning Polish journalist, Witold Szabłowski uncovers remarkable stories of people throughout Eastern Europe and in Cuba who, like Bulgaria’s dancing bears, are now free but who seem nostalgic for the time when they were not. His on-the-ground accounts provide a fascinating portrait of social and economic upheaval and a lesson in the challenges of freedom and the seductions of authoritarian rule.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

“Mixing bold journalism with bolder allegories, Mr. Szabłowski teaches us with witty persistence that we must desire freedom rather than simply expect it.” Timothy Snyder, New York Times bestselling author
“Utterly original…Provokes a far-reaching and unresolved conversation about what freedom might really mean.” New York Times Book Review
“Fascinating…A set of case studies full of tensions and contradictions.” New Republic
“Fascinating.” Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A sharply drawn account…Heartrending.” Publishers Weekly
“A surprising look at societies grappling with profound change.” Kirkus Reviews
“Reports from the post-Communist world read like fairy-tales with the stench of reality. Absurd, darkly funny, compassionate, his book is a literary jewel.” Ian Buruma, author of Year Zero

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: Witold Szabłowski

Witold Szabłowski is an award-winning Polish journalist. His reportage on the problem of illegal immigrants flocking to the EU won the European Parliament Journalism Award, and his book about Turkey, The Assassin from Apricot City, won the Beata Pawlak Award and an English PEN Award and was nominated for the NIKE Award, Poland’s most prestigious book award. Szabłowski lives in Warsaw.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download, Digital Rental, CD, MP3 CD
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 6.80
Audience: Adult
Language: English