J nos Kornai, a distinguished Hungarian economist, began his adult life as an ardentbeliever in socialism and then became a critic of the communist political and economic system. Helost family members in the Holocaust, contributed to the ideological preparation for the 1956Hungarian Revolution, and became an influential theorist of the post-Soviet economic transition. Hehas been a journalist, a researcher prohibited from teaching in his home country, and a tenuredprofessor at Harvard. By Force of Thought traces Kornai's lifelong intellectual journey and offers asubjective complement to his academic research.Disenchanted with communism, Kornai publishedOvercentralization (1956), the first book written by someone living behind the Iron Curtain to beopenly critical of Soviet-style economics. Although it was attacked in Hungary, it was hailed byWestern economists. The Kornai-Lipt k theory on two-level planning captured the attention ofmathematical economists. Kornai went on to publish the controversial Anti-Equilibrium (1971), acritique of the general equilibrium theory underpinning mainstream economic analyses of markets,Economics of Shortage (1980), The Road to a Free Economy (1990), and the summary of his lifetimeresearch, The Socialist System (1992). An intellectual emissary between East and West, Kornaicommuted between Harvard and Budapest for many years.Kornai's memoir describes hisresearch--including his present-day evaluation of his past work--as well as the social and politicalenvironments in which he did his work. The difficulties faced by a critic of central planning in acommunist country are made especially vivid by material from newly opened secret police files andinformers' reports on his activities. By Force of Thought will be an essential resource for studentsof economic thought, socialist systems, and postsocialist transition, and for readers interested inEastern European intellectual life before, during, and after communism.