Yesterday, I completed another wonderful book by yet another terrific married couple I know. The book has a great title, Dracula Is Dead, with the subtitle, How Romanians Survived Communism, Ended It, and Emerged since 1989 as the New Italy. The authors are Jim Rosapepe and Sheilah Kast. Jim was the American Ambassador to Romania during the Clinton administration. Today, he is still active in Romania and serves in the Maryland House of Delegates. I first met Jim when I while I was running the entrepreneurship center at the University of Maryland; he is one of the school’s biggest supporters and serves on its Board of Visitors. Jim’s wife, Sheilah Kast, is a well-known TV and radio journalist, with her own show on National Public Radio. In the past, she could be seen on ABC and CNN.
In Dracula Is Dead, Jim and Sheilah describe their experiences in Romania in the style of a travelogue. For a memoir writer, this is a fascinating format for a book in our genre — and it works very well. Their stories and anecdotes give a clear and insightful picture of a country which has transitioned from a Communist satellite state to a vibrant, market-driven, democracy in a relatively short time. I found them particularly fascinating because many mirror those I have encountered in my own native Czech Republic since 1998. I highly recommend the book — it’s a great read.