Romania, 1989. Communist regimes are crumbling across Europe. Seventeen-year-old Cristian Florescu dreams of becoming a writer, but Romanians aren’t free to dream; they are bound by rules and force. Amidst the tyrannical dictatorship of Nicolae Ceaușescu in a country governed by isolation and fear, Cristian is blackmailed by the secret police to become an informer. He’s left with only two choices: betray everyone and everything he loves—or use his position to creatively undermine the most notoriously evil dictator in Eastern Europe.
How many lives fit in a lifetime? When Hero De Vera arrives in America–haunted by the political upheaval in the Philippines and disowned by her parents–she’s already on her third. Her uncle gives her a fresh start in the Bay Area, and he doesn’t ask about her past. His younger wife knows enough about the might and secrecy of the De Vera family to keep her head down. But their daughter–the first American-born daughter in the family–can’t resist asking Hero about her damaged hands. (Penguin Random House blurb) Elaine Castillo's debut novel, and well-regarded, from Kirkus Reviews to Bustle. [more inside]
In mid-1980s Romania, under the nose of the Securitate, Ceaușescu’s secret police, thousands of Hollywood films were smuggled into the country by an underground operative named Zamfir, and they were all covertly dubbed by Irina Nistor, a courageous translator whose distinct voice captivated the nation and became a symbol of freedom. Chuck Norris vs. Communism is a documentary, a thriller, and a comedy.
A former prisoner of war is brainwashed as an unwitting assassin for an international Communist conspiracy. [more inside]
A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia, and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States. [more inside]
Comrade Detective: The Whole World Is Watching First Watch Season 1, Ep 5
Comrade Detective purports to be a rediscovered buddy cop show from mid-eighties Romania, made as Eastern Bloc propaganda/entertainment. It isn't; it was filmed in Romania in the modern day, with Romanian actors, and then dubbed into English by actors like Channing Tatum, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Nick Offerman, and occasionally guest stars like Debra Winger and Daniel Craig. In this episode: Baciu's family notices something unsettling; we hear Dragos's suspicions and learn something new about Stan; the American embassy is hospitable. [more inside]
In 1979 a peaceful protest by Communist workers in Greensboro NC turned into a massacre by the Klan. The police were nowhere to be found. This episode examines the incident and the investigation of who was ultimately to blame. [more inside]
The Americans are coming, but will the war be over by the time they get there? Germany throws everything into a last series of stupendous attacks in the West while hoping to avoid getting burned by a fire in the East they helped fan.
Using the two 20th Century "Red Scare" eras as case studies, Dan looks at the fear that can be generated by potentially dangerous ideas and examines the way such powerful mass emotions can cloud human judgment. (2:37:38) [more inside]