I seized upon this book with eager expectation, as I had thoroughly enjoyed the author's essays in New York Review of Books. I was not disappointed as Garton Ash manages to maintain an overview and grasp of the whole, though some of the essays are short and almost ephemeral. His major point I agree with: Europe made a serious error in the early 90's by turning its back on the new democracies to the East, and going after greater integration of the West. The cost was disastrous in the Balkans - a war which might have been averted. Worse, European foreign policy was shown to be a complete sham, as the US (again) had to lead the countries of Europe to end genocide and terror within its confines. The book focusses on Poland, (former) East Germany, Czechoslovakia and Hungary, with forays into the Balkans (mainly former Yugoslavia. There is even a mid-90s meeting with the current President Kostunica of Serbia, when he was leading a small dissident party in protest against Milosovic. The author chronicles the end of Central Europe and the shift of 'the West' to the borders of Belorus and the Ukraine. The ending note is optimistic that Europe can overcome centuries of internecine warfare, and become peaceful and forward-looking. The irony that former communists now democratically lead most of the nations they once oppressed is not lost - 'creative amnesia' is celebrated in these pages. He disagrees with Huntington's clash of civilizations idea (that future conflict will be based on old religious modes of culture) by pointing out how Ruthenians (for example) straddle the Huntington divide. Highly recommended.