Dancing Bears: True Stories of People Nostalgic for Life under Tyranny Audiobook, by Witold Szabłowski Play Audiobook Sample

Dancing Bears: True Stories of People Nostalgic for Life under Tyranny Audiobook

Dancing Bears: True Stories of People Nostalgic for Life under Tyranny Audiobook, by Witold Szabłowski Play Audiobook Sample
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Read By: Stefan Rudnicki Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Listen Time: at 1.0x Speed 4.50 hours at 1.5x Speed 3.38 hours at 2.0x Speed Release Date: March 2018 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9781538521687

Quick Stats About this Audiobook

Total Audiobook Chapters:


Longest Chapter Length:

49:47 minutes

Shortest Chapter Length:

05:45 minutes

Average Chapter Length:

20:24 minutes

Audiobooks by this Author:


Other Audiobooks Written by Witold Szabłowski: > View All...

Publisher Description

For hundreds of years, Bulgarian Gypsies trained bears to dance, welcoming them into their families and taking them on the road to perform. In the early 2000s, with the fall of Communism, they were forced to release the bears into a wildlife refuge. But even today, whenever the bears see a human, they still get up on their hind legs to dance.

In the tradition of Ryszard Kapuściński, award-winning Polish journalist, Witold Szabłowski uncovers remarkable stories of people throughout Eastern Europe and in Cuba who, like Bulgaria’s dancing bears, are now free but who seem nostalgic for the time when they were not. His on-the-ground accounts provide a fascinating portrait of social and economic upheaval and a lesson in the challenges of freedom and the seductions of authoritarian rule.

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"While the story dragged a bit in places, it was very interesting to hear an "insider's" view of what was occurring at various points in history. It brought home the complexity of governments and more importantly the people being governed. The narration was excellent."

— Carol (4 out of 5 stars)


  • “Mixing bold journalism with bolder allegories, Mr. Szabłowski teaches us with witty persistence that we must desire freedom rather than simply expect it.”

    — Timothy Snyder, New York Times bestselling author
  • “Utterly original…Provokes a far-reaching and unresolved conversation about what freedom might really mean.”

    — New York Times Book Review
  • “Fascinating…A set of case studies full of tensions and contradictions.”

    — New Republic
  • “Fascinating.”

    — Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • “A sharply drawn account…Heartrending.”

    — Publishers Weekly
  • “A surprising look at societies grappling with profound change.”

    — Kirkus Reviews
  • “Reports from the post-Communist world read like fairy-tales with the stench of reality. Absurd, darkly funny, compassionate, his book is a literary jewel.”

    — Ian Buruma, author of Year Zero


  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice

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About Witold Szabłowski

Witold Szablowski is an award-winning Polish journalist. His reportage on the problem of illegal immigrants flocking to the EU won the European Parliament Journalism Award, and his book about Turkey, The Assassin from Apricot City, won the Beata Pawlak Award and an English PEN Award and was nominated for the NIKE Award, Poland’s most prestigious book award. Szablowski lives in Warsaw.

About Stefan Rudnicki

Stefan Rudnicki first became involved with audiobooks in 1994. Now a Grammy-winning audiobook producer, he has worked on more than five thousand audiobooks as a narrator, writer, producer, or director. He has narrated more than nine hundred audiobooks. A recipient of multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards, he was presented the coveted Audie Award for solo narration in 2005, 2007, and 2014, and was named one of AudioFile’s Golden Voices in 2012.