In this collection of essays David A Dyker explores some of the most difficult and fascinating aspects of the process of transition from autocratic “real socialism” to a capitalism that is sometimes democratic, sometimes authoritarian. The stress is on the economic dimension of transformation, but the author sets the economic drama firmly within a political economy framework and a historical perspective. Trends in key economic variables are analysed against the background of the struggle between different social and political groups for power and command over resources. While the book pays due attention to topical issues like EU enlargement, the underlying perspective is a long-term one. Transition is viewed not as a set of once-and-for-all institutional changes or a process of short-term stabilisation, but as a historic opportunity to solve the inherited problem of poverty and underdevelopment in Central-East Europe and the former Soviet Union. The book ends with a critical assessment of how economics, as a discipline, has coped with the challenge of that historic opportunity.