Sheilah Kast and Jim Rosapepe
Bancroft Press, Baltimore, 2009
ISBN 978-1890862657

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 Romaniapeople 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.
Nadia Comeneci, Olympic champion and gymnastics coach

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.
U.S. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer; former co-chair, U.S. Helsinki Commission

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.
Sam Donaldson, ABC News contributor and anchor

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.
Madeleine K. Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, 1997-2001

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.
Vladimir Tismăneanu, professor of politics, University of Maryland; author, Stalinism for All Seasons: A Political History of Romanian Communism

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 really dead.
Cokie Roberts, author, syndicated columnist and senior political analyst for ABC News and NPR

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.
Scott Simon, Host, NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday; author, Windy City

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.
Bill Novelli, former CEO, AARP; and author of Fifty Plus: Give Meaning and Purpose to the Best Time of Your Life

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!
Lesley Israel, former president, National Conference on Soviet Jewry

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.
Andrei Codrescu, NPR Commentator and author, The Post-Human Dada Guide: Tzara and Lenin Play Chess

Hungarians 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 thought-provoking reading.
Helen Szablya, Honorary Hungarian Consul, Seattle, WA, and co-author, The Fall of the Red Star

Dracula 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.
Professor Radu Florescu Sr., Historian and Co-Author, In Search of Dracula

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Listening to Romanians

Chapter 2: The Romania You Don't Know

Chapter 3: Beyond Communism
    "We're waiting for you"
    Kiss my hand!
    Wave it or wear it?
    Fast track to high tech
    Why Orthodoxy is important in Romania
    How Orthodoxy survived Communism
    The religious revival since 1989
    Oh, please pardon my English
    The spies and the spied-on
    All politics is local
    Something to chew on

Chapter 4: Living in "The Paris of the East"
    Surviving urban renewal, Ceaușescu-style
    Nixon, Castro, and Pillar 23
    A Romanian view of Americans abroad
    Let's drink to that!
    God's love, good doctors, and anti-retrovirals
    Generation X in the Balkans
    Standing in line for no reason
    Post-Cold War frostbite
    Rome vs. Romania: 1054 and all that
    Pope John Paul II and us
    The Pope and the Patriarch
    Welcome to Romania
    Resting in peace
    We're not on Plymouth Rock anymore

Chapter 5: A drive in the Country
    Where are the speed cameras?
    Are you a football fan?
    Sheilah's Renault meets its maker
    How the Boy Scouts survived Communism
    Houses of aluminum foil
    Christmas in the Carpathian Alps
    Skiing under Communism

Chapter 6: The Good King
    The King and Queen would be pleased to join you for lunch
    Want ad for a monarch
    Crown prince promoted, demoted, promoted again
    Plotting a coup when you're the king
    "Then the Russians walked through"
    Ex-king still looking for work

Chapter 7: Inside Transylvania
    The Dracula who drew blood, the Dracula who drinks blood
    Mysterious origins of the legend
    Dracula as George Washington
    Visiting the Holy Land ... of Unitarians
    That Romanian work ethic
    "How many attack helicopters would you like?"
    How Romanian monks saved a civilization
    This just in: Hungarians at peace in Romania
    This country has changed
    Who wouldn't want a German to be your mayor?
    Coming for orphans, staying for families
    Bram Stoker came and the Germans left
    Coming to Aiud ... to prison
    Staying in Aiud ... for Europe
    Breaking up (state property) is hard to do
    Teaching at Maryland, living in Timișoara
    Last time we didn't go to Cluj

Chapter 8: Deep in the Heart of Romania
    Why American flyers know Ploiești
    Down in the mines
    Why they stayed under Communism
    A daughter's choice to leave after Communism
    Romania 2.0
    Fast food and fast deals
    Mother-in-law of the year
    How Romania shrank state firms ... without layoffs
    The bishop of finance
    Central banker shoptalk with Alan Greenspan
    Are foreign children a national security priority?
    Taking an American to lunch

Chapter 9: In the Mountains of Maramureș
    Can jelly donuts kill?
    The cabbage cure for fractured joints
    "Christ is risen! Truly, He is risen!"
    Remembering the Holocaust ... in Elie Wiesel's hometown
    The memorial to arrested thoughts
    Lessons after the Revolution
    Earmarks for God's work . . . and His workers
    What the Communists did well

Chapter 10: It's Moldavia, not Moldova
    How well does your priest sing?
    Here today, tomorrow in Focșani
    Steel city, Romania
    Heh, heh, heh
    The Americans have come—to a July Fourth picnic near you!
    Heavenly monasteries, down to earth
    Art as religion and as history
    Ducking behind the angels
    A weed in the garden of socialism
    Fighting pre-revolutionary battles
    Mennonites in Moldavia
    Roma in Romania
    Poles in the unmelted pot
    This year in Iași

Chapter 11: The Blue Danube and the Black Sea
    J.R. and Southfork Ranch on the road to Constanța
    Building the canal
    They call it Romania for a reason
    From Pikesville to Constanța
    Ciao, Romania
    The Turks who stayed
    If it's Tuesday, we must be in Istanbul
    Women's health, local politics
    From Communist boss to "Mayor Friendly"
    Her Highness

Chapter 12: Back in Europe
    Why are Romanian gymnasts so good?
    Studying in America, returning to Romania
    Transplanting a dream Building a better Romania
    Making up is hard to do, too: The Plaza of Reconciliation in Arad
    Baptists in the Balkans, rebuilding the social ministry Five faiths in five hours

Chapter 13: Living in the Balkans, in the Shadow of the Kremlin
    Would NATO bomb Transylvania?
    Kosovo: the war next door
    "Live from Bucharest!"
    Joe Biden in Byzantium
    Violating Yugoslav airspace . . . with truth
    Why Romania supported NATO in Kosovo
    Miločeviæ on trial
    Romanians abroad—outside the country, inside the culture
    Leaving Moldavia, entering Moldova
    Travels with Radu
    Caring for the Jewish heritage
    Good fences, good neighbors, good borders with Ukraine
    Are the Russians coming—on Monday morning?

Chapter 14: Why Romania Works
    The economic boom of the last decade
    1989: Not the start of history
    Is Romania a democracy?
    Nineteenth-century incomes, twenty-first-century skills
    Romanian model of ethnic relations Romania's European future



About the Authors

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.

Dracula Is Dead - Book