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October 30, 1994|CHARLES SOLOMON

EXIT INTO HISTORY: A Journey Through the New Eastern Europe by Eva Hoffman (Penguin: $11.95; 410 pp.) . Eva Hoffman, who was born in Cracow, roamed the countries of the former Eastern Bloc, observing the results of the recent governmental upheavals. Although she notes the political shifts in the capitals, Hoffman focuses on how the new regimes are affecting the daily lives of average citizens who have to find something for dinner and pay the rent. Rapid economic changes have produced resentment, ominous inter-ethnic friction, despair and anger, but also hope and joy. The often chaotic conditions offer opportunities that would have been unthinkable a few years ago: "Glossy and tacky at the same time. There's a Klondike sleaziness aspect to the new Eastern Europe, and the unregulated opportunism of a Wild East. . . . The woebegone trading posts of last year have burgeoned into this anarchic energy."

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