In December 1989, Romanians overthrew dictator Nicolae Ceaușescu, ending more than forty years of Communist totalitarianism.
Twenty years later, Romania is a thriving democracy, an economic success, and a member of NATO and the European Union.
What's the story behind the Romanian miracle?
Join former United States ambassador to Romania Jim Rosapepe and his wife, award-winning journalist Sheilah Kast, on an amazing tour of an amazing land beyond Dracula, beyond orphans, beyond Communism, to the vibrant culture, unique history, and 21st century skills that define modern Romania.
You'll travel to Bucharest, the capital city once called the Paris of the East, where centuries-old Orthodox Christianity thrives in tandem with cutting-edge information technology; to Maramureș in the north, where the Holocaust took a great toll on a once vibrant Jewish community that included Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel; to Transylvania, home not just to Vlad Țepeș, the real-life Dracula, but to the historic struggles between Romanians and Hungarians, now at peace; and to fascinating spots in-between.
Along the way, you'll meet people, famous and unknown, who have made Romania—people like King Michael, who in World War II, at age twenty-two, led a coup to unseat a fascist dictator, only to be forced into exile by the Communists; Ion Iliescu, both a leading figure during Communism and Romania s first democratically elected president; and Judith Katona, a young woman who, like many Romanians, went abroad to study after the Revolution but returned to create the new Romania.
More than a travelogue or memoir, Dracula Is Dead: How Romanians Survived Communism, Ended It, and Emerged since 1989 as the New Italy presents Romania through American eyes, taking you with Jim and Sheilah as they discover a remarkable country of boundless hospitality, brilliant skills, and a bright future in a peaceful Europe.
As a strong, creative, charming, democratic nation following years of dictatorship and isolation, Romania really is the new Italy.
See for yourself.
Praise for Dracula is Dead
If they gave out
gold medals for books, Dracula is Dead would get one. It s a
fascinating, long overdue, and timely look at Romania, giving
readers an unparalleled view of my country's many, many layers.
To understand how Eastern Europeans moved from Soviet satellites to
NATO allies, Dracula is Dead is a great place to start.
Sheilah and Jim know the region well. Their insights are relevant to
nations from the Baltic to the Black Sea.
If you buy only one book about Romania, Dracula is Dead
should be the one. Culture, religion, war, humor, kings, Communists,
kids, IT nerds, gypsies—and Dracula—they're all here, seen through
the eyes of two keen American observers and storytellers.
Romania is a living legacy of Rome, as well as a great American
ally. Jim and Sheilah are outstanding guides to this country, which
is both familiar and exotic.
Vivid travelogue, gripping memoir, and accurate analysis, this book
is a compellingly insightful look at the dilemmas entailed with
Romania's embrace of democracy. Sheilah Kast, the indefatigable
journalist, and Jim Rosapepe, the astute diplomat-politician, take
readers on a marvelous journey through Romania's history, geography,
culture, and habits of the heart. Highly recommended to all those
who want to understand the human underpinnings of the struggle for
freedom in East-Central Europe.
What a great read! With the eye of the journalist and the ear of the
politician, Sheilah Kast and Jim Rosapepe make their Romanian
experience so absorbing that you'll want to jump on the next plane
to go see for yourself. But I refuse to believe that Dracula is
I chose fiction to convey the chaos and
connections of Chicago politics. Sheilah and Jim found chaos and
connections and much more while uncovering the real story of
Romania—exploding the myths and filling in the rest of the story.
You'll be fascinated by what they found.
You don't have to be Italian American to
understand why Sheilah and Jim call Romania the New Italy—Latin
language, dazzling creativity, roots in the Roman Empire. They show
you the Romania you don't know, the place you'll want to visit.
This book puts a
three-dimensional face on a country most Americans know only through
legend. At last, the appeal, the wonderful reality and the
fascinating interplay of the past and the present make Romania a
place which belongs on everyone's "must see" list. Tourism or
business, there is hidden treasure here!
Post-communist Romania was lucky to have
a bright couple who were genuinely fascinated by the country, an
ambassador who asked questions, and a journalist who dug deep. The
portrait they have drawn of a vibrant and warm nation should
overthrow many of the negative clichés that have persisted in our
media. Travel with them in this eye-opening book, and you may feel
the urge to go there yourself.
knew Transylvania long before Bram Stoker created Dracula. This
intriguing book shines a spotlight on the Hungarian heritage—and
current struggles—in 21st-century Romania. Agree or disagree, it's
is Dead is just the right metaphor. This interesting and
entertaining book, with Sheilah's journalistic acumen and Jim's
inside knowledge, takes readers behind the myth and the fiction to
today's real Romania.
Table of Contents
About the Authors
Sheilah Kast is an award-winning journalist well known to viewers of PBS, ABC, and CNN, and to listeners of NPR. For ABC, she reported on the collapse of Communism from Moscow and Tbilisi and covered Hillary Clinton s first trip to Eastern Europe. She hosts AARP's weekly newsmaker cable TV show, Inside E Street, as well as her own daily magazine show on WYPR, the public radio affiliate in Maryland.
Jim Rosapepe represented the United States as ambassador to Romania from 1998 to 2001, bringing to the job experience in American government and business, as well as in the former Communist world. Since returning to Maryland, where he is a state senator, he has served on the boards of various investment funds and companies active in Europe and the former Soviet Union. He has written on economic and security issues for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Harvard International Review. Jim and Sheilah have been married for twenty-six years, and live in College Park, Maryland.