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By Adam Michnik

A hero to many, Polish author Adam Michnik ranks between modern such a lot fearless and persuasive public figures. His imprisonment by way of Poland's army regime within the Nineteen Eighties did not anything to quench his outpouring of writings, lots of that have been released in English as Letters from felony. starting the place that quantity ended, Letters from Freedom reveals Michnik in brief in criminal on the top of the "cold civil battle" among professionals and electorate in Poland, then published. via his carrying on with essays, articles, and interviews, the reader can keep on with all of the momentous alterations of the decade in Poland and East-Central Europe. the various writings have seemed in English in numerous courses; such a lot are translated the following for the 1st time.Michnik isn't indifferent. His trust that individuals can get what they need with no hatred and violence has continually translated into motion, and his activities, quite the task of writing, have required his contemporaries to imagine heavily approximately what it's they need. His dedication to freedom is absolute, yet neither wild-eyed nor humorless; with a attribute mix of idealism and pragmatism, Michnik says, "In the top, politics is the artwork of foreseeing and enforcing the possible."Michnik's mixture of conviction and political acumen is likely to be so much vividly printed within the interviews transcribed within the ebook, no matter if he's the topic of the interview or is accomplishing a talk with Czeslaw Milosz, Vacláv Havel, or Wojciech Jaruzelski. those face-to-face exchanges inform extra in regards to the forces at paintings in modern jap Europe than may well any textbook. Sharing Michnik's highbrow trip via a tumultuous period, we contact on all of the matters vital to him during this wide-ranging assortment and locate they've got significance for everybody who values judgment of right and wrong and accountability. within the phrases of Jonathan Schell, "Michnik is a kind of who deliver honor to the final 20 years of the 20 th century."

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And the longer one spends on Michnik's preferred path of living life in "truth and dignity," the greater the likelihood it will become "something truly addictive'' (Chapter 2). Inspirationprovided by those who have borne and bear witnessis a third source of moral courage and individualism. For Michnik they are his "teachers" Sakharov, Kis, Havel, Gombrowicz, Kolakowski*, Milosz*, and Mann. People you want to emulate. People you do not want to disappoint. 26 People you form "sacred friendships" with in jail.

Listen: "I am not consistent when it comes to the order of values, knowing that conflictual values exist, but I am consistent when it comes to myself" (Chapter 3). Michnik worries about only one thing: "being right with myself. Everything else is God's affair" (Chapter 3). Sound familiar? "Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures, or by clear reason, ... "9 Mieczyslaw * Moczar did Adam Michnik a great service by attempting to impose a categorical identity on him: Jewish. A Communist Cauchon, Moczar identified himself in categorical, stereotypical, corporate termsCommunist and Polishnever in individual terms.

Michnik wants neither a Poland populated with Max Stirner's "egos" 13 stripped of political, ethnic, and religious loyalties nor a Poland of "hildren" subject to the paternal direction of "greedy" corporate institutions. He wants a Poland of civic institutions populated by individual citizens. 14 Entry to, membership in, and exit from a liberal association emphasizes individual choice as much as group permission or certification and thereby limit the power of permission and certification. Similarly, in a liberal modern society the individual integrates the multiplicity of his or her partial and role-bound identities.

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