by Lea Ypi
Reviewed by Linda:Lea Ypi, a professor at the London School of Economics, has written a fascinating memoir of growing up in Albania while it was a Soviet-style socialist state. Taught by her trusted teacher that Albania was a paradise and capitalism was cruel and evil, she never heard her parents disagree with her lessons although they often sent her out of the room when they had conversations. Like their neighbors, the entire family was very proud of the exotic Coca Cola can they had managed to acquire and display on a lace tablecloth. Then, in 1990, socialism collapsed in Albania, and Lea found out that almost everything she had been told about her country and her family was false. In this new world, she watches her fellow citizens turn in hope to the promise of liberal democracy only to see those hopes dashed through the harm done by "necessary structural reforms."