It took twenty-seven years and the ending of the Cold War for former New York Times correspondent David Binder to obtain permission to enter Communist Albania. Once there, in 1990, the author was introduced to both suspicion and traditionally warm hospitality. He found Albania impoverished, as it had been throughout its history, but also rich in talented and thoughtful people. Images of Stalin and of Enver Hoxha, Stalin's Albanian imitator, were still omnipresent. “We are a terrorized people,” one student commented. Rebellion was in the air.

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