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Out of Ceausescu’s Hell: a Romanian at Cambridge

February 25th, 2010 · No Comments · Books, Diaspora, PEOPLE


Constantin ROMAN: Continental Drift – Colliding Continents, Converging Cultures ,

(228 pages  Taylor and Francis, ISBN-10: 0750306866)

In 1968, the Romanian geophysicist Constantin Roman defied Communist restrictions to migrate to England on a NATO travel grant. Under Ceausescu’s dictatorship, obtaining a passport was short of a miracle and in the first chapter we are let into the dark secret of how the impossible was made possible.

As a refugee from behind the Iron Courtain, he metaphorically performed, in a sense, a “continental drift”, from his native Romania to Cambridge and Western scientific and human society, because one must not forget that in England, all Europeans are referred to as “continentals”, hence the title in his book being fully justified, in the best tradition of British pun of double-entendre.

Perhaps the best summary of this extraordinary saga is offered  by a thirty-year-old Romanian reader from Canada who wrote:

This is a wonderful book which I read with pleasure: you have done exactly what any self-respected person should have done. I am glad I read your story and if one day I will ever question myself about the final station of my own emigration, now I know that we all have our own written destiny. In your book I recognized myself, at the age of 16, how I imagined my life to be. Then come the revolution – all changed.

I must confess I admired your inventiveness, perseverance and tenacity with which you focused on your goals, the courage you displayed in approaching influential people, without prior introduction, the manner in which you presented logical arguments in obtaining what you were about to achieve. I further understood (all too well) that longing for our native land, that “dor de tara” and also admired that fantastic idea of organizing a Romanian Festival during your first year in England. Anyway I do not wish to re-write your book…”

“Continental Drift, Colliding Continents, Converging Cultures” (available on Amazon as a hardback book) could be downloaded  in PDF format for a small fraction of the publisher’s price:


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