In Origins of a Spontaneous Revolution: East Germany, 1989, leading German social scientists Karl-Dieter Opp, Peter Voss and Christiane Gern argue that East Germans took to the streets because, ironically, they overestimated their chances of success. Although an excellent starting point for future scholarship, Origins relies on inadequate survey data and overlooks superior theories of collective action.

Susanne Lohmann is an associate professor of political science at the University of California, Los Angeles.
EuropeInternational Economics and Development