Download 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 Szablowski Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Witold Szablowski Narrator: Stefan Rudnicki Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2018 ISBN: 9781538521656
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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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Quotes & Awards

  • “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

Listener Reviews

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  • 3.666666 out of 53.666666 out of 53.666666 out of 53.666666 out of 53.666666 out of 5 Carol | 7/24/2018

    " 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. "

About the Author

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 the Narrator

Jim Gough’s distinctive voice is well known in the Southwest through his hundreds of commercials and radio shows. He has also appeared in such feature films as Urban Cowboy, Places in the Heart, and JFK. A native of Austin, Texas, he can also be found entertaining with his western swing band, the Cosmopolitan Cowboys.