The Picnic

By Matthew Longo,

Book cover of The Picnic: A Dream of Freedom and the Collapse of the Iron Curtain

Book description

In August 1989, a group of Hungarian activists organised a picnic on the border of Hungary and Austria. But this was not an ordinary picnic-it was located on the dangerous militarised frontier known as the Iron Curtain. Tacit permission from the highest state authorities could be revoked at any moment.…

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Why read it?

1 author picked The Picnic as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I’m a sucker for books about historical events that leave you keenly aware of how easily a big transformation could have turned out differently—or not happened. In this case, the end of Communist Party rule across the former Soviet Bloc is the transformation.

In providing a fresh perspective on this oft-covered subject, the author zeroes in on a small and largely forgotten incident: a picnic. It took place on the border between Hungary and Austria in 1989. It might never have happened if an Iron Curtain border guard had not decided to look the other way at a particular moment,…

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