The Magic Lantern Background

The Magic Lantern Background

Timothy Garton Ash is a British author and commentator born on July 12, 1955 in London, England. After graduating from the Sherborne School, he attended Exeter College to study Modern History. He later enrolled at St. Antony’s College for graduate school. Ash then moved to Berlin to continue his education at Free University. After his extensive studies in history and literature, Ash wrote as a columnist for various publications, including The Spectator, The Independent, and The Guardian.

In 1990, Ash published The Magic Lantern, a first-person account of the European revolutions of 1989. It details the political transformations that overtook the continent and in particular, Warsaw, Budapest, Berlin, and Prague. He adds his perspective on the strife that arose in these cities and what lies ahead for the countries that had just become sovereign nations.

When The Magic Lantern was released, it received a great deal of praise from critics and scholars. Jan T. Gross, director of Soviet and East European studies at Emory University, praises Ash for his “wonderful combination of first-class reporting, brilliant political analysis and reflection.” She states that “his writing is so good that phrases he coins occasionally enter the stream of events he is writing about.”

Since 1990, Timothy Ash has authored numerous other historical books, including Free Speech: Ten Principles for a Connected World (2016), Facts are Subversive: Political Writing from a Decade without a Name (2009), Free World: America, Europe, and the Surprising Future of the West (2004), History of the Present: Essays, Sketches, and Dispatches from Europe in the 1990s (1999), The File: A Personal History (1997), and In Europe's Name: Germany and the Divided Continent (1993).

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