Cristina Georgescu, considered one Romania’s beauties of that time, dressed in a peasant costume, stands by a bust statue of King Carol II, exibited at the Romanian Pavilion from the 1940 World’s Fair in New York. She directed the preparations for the second opening (1940) to the public of the alabaster-lined structure, which had a particularly popular attraction in the foreign exhibit area of the exhibition last season (1939). With Romania occupying the headlines, along with other war-threatened European nations, her exhibit at the Fair, opened on 11 May, was of timely interest.
Dracula is Dead: How Romanians Survived Communism, Ended it, and Emerged as the New Italy Since 1989, by Sheilah Kast and Jim Rosapepe, Bancroft Press, 400 pp, hardback, November 2009
The United States throughout the Cold War decades has been a beacon of democracy and freedom for the peoples of Eastern Europe. Americans and their representatives were enthusiastically received in the region as friends and liberators after the momentous 1989 revolutions. Romania emerged from one of the harshest communist dictatorships and embarked upon a bumpy transition road to democracy. The second half of the 1990s has been a crucial period in that process, when the first truly non-communist government and president were elected, the market economy reforms were first properly implemented and King Michael, the hero of the WWII who put an end to the Nazi regime in Romania, was allowed back from exile and had his citizenship restored.
Ambassador James Rosapepe was the US envoy to this country during most of that crucial period, from 1998 to 2001, and together with his wife, the distinguished journalist Sheila Kast, gathered in this timely and remarkable book their impressions and insights about Romania and Romanians. Their writing is easy to follow and fluent, giving a wholesome image of their experiences in post-communist Romania. The book is also a travelogue and an analysis of the mentalities of a people that survived one of the most oppressive communist regimes, or as the authors stated: “it is not a guidebook, but rather a look at a country and a people through American eyes” (p.8). The volume is fittingly published as part of the celebrations of the 20 years anniversary of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe. Continue reading
Book Reviews, Eastern Europe, Familia regala, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, King Michael of Romania, non reigning monarchs, Regele Mihai, Romania, Romanian Royal Family, South-East European Monarchs, WWII
Dracula is Dead: How Romanians Survived Communism, Ended it, and Emerged as the New Italy Since 1989, by Sheilah Kast and Jim Rosapepe, Bancroft Press, 400 pp, November 2009
Jim Rosapepe was the US Ambassador to Romania between 1998-2001. I had the great honour to met him and his wife ten years ago on the occasion of the US Independence Day celebrations in Iasi in north-eastern Romania. It was wonderful to meet the lively and energetic American community and officials so far away from the capital. The book written by the ambassadorial couple represents ‘a memorable tour of Romania – past, present, and future’ and its release, as the publishers announced, coincides with the 20th anniversary of the fall of Communism in Eastern Europe. I was very impressed by the publishers’ excellent marketing effort in promoting this remarkable work over the internet: on facebook, twitter and on the book website www.draculaisdead.com
I highly recommend this book as an excellent holistic guide of Romania. For readers interested in royal history there is a chapter dedicated to King Michael of Romania entitled “The Good King”. I endeavour to write a review for this book and post it on this blog in the next few weeks. Continue reading
Balkans, Eastern Europe, European royal families, Familia regala, Greek Royal family, Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, istoria regalitatii, King Michael of Romania, Monarhia, Prince Philip, Princess Helen of Greece, Queen-Mother Helen, Regele Mihai, Regina Elena, Romania, Romanian Royal Family, royal holidays, Royalty
Mamaia, like Balcic located more to the South, was one of the resorts on the Black Sea shore frequented by the Romanian Royal Family. Princess Helen liked this place and spent many a summer holiday there together with her son Michael. The Royal Palace in Mamaia was given as a gift to Helen by her mother-in-law, Queen Marie. The images posted here show a happy mother and son during the summers of late 1920s when King Michael of Romania was an infant. Members of the Greek royal family were also usual guests there, who often brought Prince Philip (now the Duke of Edinburgh) with them. See the photograph bellow where Helen is together with the two infants, Michael and Philip (on the right hand side). Continue reading