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From the Vanguard to the Margins
Workers in Hungary, 1939 to the Present: Selected Essays by Mark Pittaway
Mark Pittaway was the pre-eminent historian of contemporary Hungary. This volume collects his most important work.
From the Vanguard to the Margins is dedicated to the work of the late British historian, Dr Mark Pittaway (1971-2010), a prominent scholar of post-war and contemporary Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Breaking with orthodox readings on Eastern bloc regimes, which remain wedded to the 'totalitarianism' paradigm of the Cold War era, the essays in this volume shed light on the contradictory historical and social trajectory of 'real socialism' in the region.

Mainstream historiography has presented Stalinist parties as 'omnipotent', effectively stripping workers and society in general of its 'relative autonomy'. Building on an impressive amount of archive material, Pittaway convincingly shows how dynamics of class, gender, skill level, and rural versus urban location, shaped politics in the period.
Reviews
  • “Some of the people in Six by Ten were convicted of crimes, but this book convicts the United States of an incomparably greater crime: blighting the lives and searing the souls of untold hundreds of thousands of men, women, and teenagers by a practice that more enlightened countries consider inhuman. You will not find a more riveting indictment anywhere of our reckless use of solitary confinement, nor one told through such a variety of moving, poignant voices.”

    —Adam Hochschild, author, King Leopold’s Ghost

    “The voices heard in this powerful collection are haunting. As these men and women make inescapably clear, the practice of removing human beings from everything that makes them sane and stable—keeping them for days, months, and years in utter isolation without light, touch, sound, space, and hope—is unimaginably cruel. Six by Ten is a deeply moving and profoundly unsettling wake up call for all citizens. The use of solitary confinement is deeply immoral and we must insist that it be banned in all of our nation’s prisons. Immediately.” 

    —Heather Ann Thompson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author, Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy