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The Bridges of Ideas: Transnational Network of the Book Program for Eastern Europe, 1956-1990
  • Pawel Sowinski
Pawel Sowinski
Polish Academy of Science

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Abstract

This proposed contribution reflects on how one, relatively small U.S.-led program of cultural diplomacy shaped the attitude of Polish intellectuals towards liberalization and openness to the free world during the Cold War. The importance of the topic lies in the fact that this long-lasting literary service could be considered as a vital tool for creating more space for political and cultural freedom in Soviet-bloc countries. The program represented the spirit of solidarity and friendship between Eastern Europe and the U.S. that, even now, should not be forgotten. That thirty years after the book program ended, Eastern Europe still lacks a transnational perspective on defending universal liberal values and the process of gaining freedom in the region before 1989 demonstrates the importance of bringing the Eastern and Western narratives closer together, by reexamining the legacy of the book program today.