Martyn ‘Grog’ Grove:
I’ve just finished reading “The Man They Killed on Christmas Day”, and found it very illuminating. When I watched the events of 24 years ago on TV, I could not believe what was going on. I’ve been interested in Vlad Tepes for some time, and in August 1989 I visited Romania and toured around, visiting Bucharest, Curtea De Arges, Sibiu, Tirgu Mures, Sighisoara, Brasov, Ploiesti and the Black Sea coast at Mamaia. I found the people and the countryside wonderful.
We were obviously kept ignorant of what was going on, politically, because the later events came as such a shock to me. I knew a little of the poverty because on my first day in Mamaia I gave a bar of chocolate to a little boy and he basically followed me around for a week! But, on the whole, the people I encountered seemed to be getting along o.k. I would love to return, but my wife prefers holidays at home in the UK or maybe Spain. I have just ordered Pacepa’s ‘Red Horizons’ and, now the immigration restrictions have been lifted, I’m looking forward to speaking to some of your countrymen about your beautiful country. Noroc!
I just finished reading, “The Man they Killed on Christmas Day.” Thank you for the insightful information on Ceausescu. I have currently moved to the Arad, Romania area and had wanted to have a better understanding of the older culture and their past.
Eva Draxler: At school in Austria I did not learn much about recent European history behind the Iron Curtain. Reading Catalin Gruia`s book I have finally got a full picture of how a country and its people so close to Austria can eventually become nutrient media for paranoia and the rampant megalomania of a single man with low education and good intentions in his younger days. Catalin Gruia succeeds in colorfully portraying a man who has left enduring, painful marks in his home country, a span still remaining to be clarified and overcome. I could not help finding many parallels to the raise of the Nazi regime that my country has not fully unravelled. The authors point of view is objective, clear-sighted and human at the same time. It is a perfect manual or even expertise on power in general and its degenerating dynamics when ambitions meet obedience, a sycophantic demeanor and inferiority complexes. Thank you for this wonderful lesson on humanity that I can highly recommend!
Platignum no5 –:
I enjoyed this short, personal account on the man who’s shadow still lingers over Romania. As one who has not directly went through Ceausescu’s time, it was of great interest to read more about him and how he became to be the harshest dictator modern Romania has had. Gruia’s writing style flows, making it very easy to read. Historical accounts are cluttered with a personal touch, sometimes presented through the eyes of a young boy, or through those of a confused teenager.
I have lived in Ceausescu’s world for only 4 years before The Revolution came. I do have vague memories about a life lived in black and white shades smoothed out by my loving family: singing songs during evenings with power cuts when no light and no TV were available, having the weekly bath when hot water was allowed into our homes for a few hours, receiving gifts at kindergarden from a disguised Santa that we called “Santa Frost”, beind made “hawk of the homeland” which made me a young communist in the making. Then The Revolution happened and I remember my family not knowing what was happening, being concerned for my grandfather who was then a colonel in the navy, hearing fire arms being shot in the streets and a vague joy that somebody called Ceausescu had died. We were tearing the pages that contained Ceausescu’s face off every book, magazine and newspaper. It was a defiance towards something I didn’t understand but something that my parents used to fear.
It is not yet clear for my generation who Ceausescu was and this book helps fill in some gaps that the history books taught in schools fail to. I do fear the submissive, cowardly nature of my people that does not know how to defend democracy. I feel ashamed that my people did not judge the murderers of Ceausescu like they should have and that instead they allowed all the people behind the communist regime to survive in a masked democracy under the presidency of Iliescu and his kind. This is why today we still suffer from corruption and bad government and this is why my generation preffers to educate itself and work outside the country.
: I have to admit I started reading this book with great interest. My parents have lived through communism and I have not had the `chance’ to witness such a regime in my lifetime. The stories I heard were dreadful and hard to imagine. But also over the years I have noticed that some people look back at the communist times and compare some of Ceausescu’s strategies and how they made some things better than they are today.
In this mini-book Catalin Gruia presents a Ceausescu with his good and bad sides, but he also puts Ceausescu’s life into context, something that not many writers have done. In this way the reader gets a full picture of what made Ceausescu the dictator he was.
The book is written in a funny and ironic style at times and it an easy and fast read. A must for those interested in Ceausescu’s communist leadership, this book can explain communist Romania to the outside world.
Harriet J. Brown
(Bayside, NY United States) :
Catalin Gruia wrote a fascinating book about Romania and the life story of ceaucescu . This story is really about how power corrupts and how absolute power corrupts absolutely.
: This book was a good opportunity for a westerner to learn more about this man. It was hard to determine just what the various agencies and programs were and meant.But it was worth my time.
For me, as a child, the communist period was a time of adapting the games we played, to the everyday realities: the lack of heat in the winter time, the homework at the candle light, staying in queues for hours. As an adult you still search for answers: how this happened, why and who is to blame. Anyway, more you discover more complex the true become. We all need to understand that there is no “black and white” situation, to know and accept the real history. We have to know about our past leaders, our nation, ourselves. This way we can accept and try to do better. Catalin Gruia’s book is what we need to complete the picture and the facts presented are quite interesting. This book is a “must read” for all the Romanians. And not only…