Few moments in history have seen as many seismic transformations as 1979. Christian Caryl explained how that single year marked the emergence of revolutionary Islam as a political force on the world stage, the beginning of market revolutions in China and Britain that would fuel globalization and radically alter the international economy, and the first stirrings of the resistance movements in Eastern Europe and Afghanistan that ultimately led to the collapse of the Soviet Union. More than any other year in the latter half of the twentieth century, 1979 heralded the economic, political, and religious realities that define the twenty-first.

The discussion was moderated by the Legatum Institute's Director of Global Transitions, Anne Applebaum.


About the Author
Christian Caryl is a Senior Fellow at the Legatum Institute and a Contributing Editor at Foreign Policy magazine, where he edits Democracy Lab, a special online publication devoted to countries aspiring to make the transition from authoritarianism to democracy. (Democracy Lab is a joint venture of the Legatum Institute and Foreign Policy.) He is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books.

From 2004 to March 2009 he headed the Tokyo Bureau of Newsweek. Before that, from 2000 to 2004, Caryl served as Newsweek’s Moscow Bureau Chief. He was a winner of the 2011 Overseas Press Club award for Best Online Commentary, a member of a Newsweek reporting team that won a 2004 National Magazine Award for reporting from Iraq, and a 1999 finalist in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists Award for Outstanding Investigative Reporting.


“The forces unleashed by this remarkable year continue to shape the world . . . Anyone who wants to understand how this new world came into being needs to read Mr Caryl’s excellent book.”
– The Economist

“At the end of the 20th century, two coiled forces, religion and markets, sprung onto the world stage. From China’s reforms to Margaret Thatcher’s rise to Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution, they all began in 1979 and have been shaping international life ever since. Christian Caryl tells the story of that pivotal year – and its consequences – with intelligence, grace and lucidity.
– Fareed Zakaria

. . . an amazing story that illuminates the world we live in.”
— Dexter Filkins