In this highly original book, Patrick O'Neil analyses the catalysts of the collapse of socialism in Eastern Europe and offers explanations for these events. The exceptional case of Hungary is used to support theoretical concepts regarding the transition in Eastern Europe using new empirical evidence and institutional theory. The Hungarian transition from communism is distinct in that the Hungarian Socialist Worker's Party was the initiator of its own transition but also acted as its own greatest enemy. This book provides a detailed analysis of the internal reform movement within the Hungarian Communist Party and its role in the incremental transition to democracy in the late 1980s. The author utilizes party archives and primary interviews with important figures in the Communist Party to examine the effect of institutional relationships on the collapse of the authoritarian order. He also emphasizes the role of reform circles in accelerating the disintegration of the Communist Party in Hungary. The book concludes that the way in which an autocratic order perpetuates itself affects the manner of its decline and the new system that takes its place. This authoritative book will be welcomed by academics and students interested in the politics of transition both in Hungary and Eastern Europe and the politics of the demise of communism in general.