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Free: Coming of Age at the End of History

Non-Fiction, Biography & Memoir, Literary Biography & Memoir
Paperback Published on: 01/06/2022
RRP £10.99
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Bookseller Reviews

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Free
Absolutely Fascinating
A fascinating memoir of growing up under communist rule in Albania and what 'freedom' looks like. Ypi was a child in 1990 when the regime, one of the most ... READ MORE
Katy Wheatley
Free
An eye-opening memoir
As an autobiography, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I found the revelations about Albania (of which I knew next to nothing) absolutely fascinating. Yp... READ MORE
Sean Farrell
Free
Heartbreaking, hopeful
I went into Free: Coming of Age at the End of History with no prior knowledge of Albania or Stalin, and minimal knowledge of socialism and communism. Ypi c... READ MORE
Rhea | Barnstaple
Free
Enthralling: informative but also humorous in places!
Lea Ypi has captured her biography (inside book joke!) in such fascinating prose. The first half of the book, we are introduced to her way of living throug... READ MORE
Alice Warburton from Manchester Deansgate
Free
Thought provoking picture of a changing society
A fascinating and insightful memoir of life in Albania both under socialism and after civil war and political change told with both humour and thoughtfulne... READ MORE
Beth at Chesterfield

Synopsis

Waterstones Non-Fiction Book of the Month for June 2022 Shortlisted for the Costa Biography Award 2021 Shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2021 'I never asked myself about the meaning of freedom until the day I hugged Stalin. From close up, he was much taller than I expected.' Lea Ypi grew up in one of the most isolated countries on earth, a place where communist ideals had officially replaced religion. Albania, the last Stalinist outpost in Europe, was almost impossible to visit, almost impossible to leave. It was a place of queuing and scarcity, of political executions and secret police. To Lea, it was home. People were equal, neighbours helped each other, and children were expected to build a better world. There was community and hope. Then, in December 1990, a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall, everything changed. The statues of Stalin and Hoxha were toppled. Almost overnight, people could vote freely, wear what they liked and worship as they wished. There was no longer anything to fear from prying ears. But factories shut, jobs disappeared and thousands fled to Italy on crowded ships, only to be sent back. Predatory pyramid schemes eventually bankrupted the country, leading to violent conflict. As one generation's aspirations became another's disillusionment, and as her own family's secrets were revealed, Lea found herself questioning what freedom really meant. Free is an engrossing memoir of coming of age amid political upheaval. With acute insight and wit, Lea Ypi traces the limits of progress and the burden of the past, illuminating the spaces between ideals and reality, and the hopes and fears of people pulled up by the sweep of history.

  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • ISBN: 9780141995106
  • Number of pages: 336
  • Weight: 259g
  • Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 19 mm

Customer Reviews

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Free
Interesting Read
An interesting memoir charting a young girls life in Albania. Albania is very much under communist rule as the book starts and we see the changes the girl'... READ MORE
Fiona Sharp
Free
Heart breaking and yet hopeful at the same time
I really enjoyed reading this book, it’s a beautifully written memoir about Lea growing up in the last throws of Communist Albania in the 1980s and 1990s. ... READ MORE
Lou B
Free
A Memoir exploring the transition from Communism to Democracy through the eyes of a child.
This is a fascinating insight into the life of a young girl growing up in the final days of the Soviet Union and then the early days of Albanian independen... READ MORE
Rachel Swaffield
Free
History as seen by a child. Wonderful!
My previous experience of autobiographies (dry and dusty or opportunities for self promotion ) meant I had somewhat low expectations of this book. How wron... READ MORE
DeniseK