In case history buffs need something more meaty, there is now a companion book: an English-language volume retells the documentary in the equivalent of a long National Geographic article on Estonia's history, written by Priit Vesilind, Estonian exile author and photographer and long-time contributor to that magazine.
Vesilind is a premier feature writing voice. Who better to introduce Estonia to tourists who may be browsing an Old Town bookshop for a volume just like this?
The only disappointment here is that you don't get that great National Geographic picture quality. Though the usual journalistic standards apply, no one really expects a work like this to be a go-to source with its historical incisiveness or rigorous treatment (although it is important to give the proper weight to the proper forces in society).
It should be eye candy.
But if I had not admired the quality of Vesilind's own collection of photographs from his legendary 1979 trip, also published by Varrak, I would have recommended that anyone wishing to publish a book with abundant pictures from different sources, steer clear of this publisher.
Apparently they need a lesson in anti-aliasing.
The typography is surprisingly uninspired as well. Uninteresting sans-serif fonts make appearances on busy backgrounds. The manuscript was not checked for double spaces. (If you think this is unimportant, I defy you to find a single book among the bestsellers at a Barnes and Noble's that has any of these problems.)
Though it is not without its fact-check problems ("village of Kunda", "Hiiuma" etc), I am more forgiving on copy editing. I am listed as the proofreader of Mart Laar's chronological general history of Estonia, a 200-page work not too unlike this book, and I have yet to look at whether my changes were incorporated accurately, or, more likely, if I missed anything. I fear the worst.
Fortunately, the writing and the pacing in Singing Revolution, like Laar's, is fine. Good enough to raise the hackles of Popular Front leaderswho feel they did not receive their due. It seemed people were more unanimous in their reception of the documentary itself.
And the small format makes it convenient to schlep it back home as a gift.
Just make sure you include the DVD for the original photography.