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Czech writer and dissident Jan Trefulka dies

Czech writer and dissident Jan Trefulka dies

Author and former dissident Jan Trefulka died 22 Nov. at the age of 83 in his native Brno. The writer was known as a member of the underground intellectual community opposing the Communist regime in Czechoslovakia. A writer of short stories, prose and literary criticism, Trefulka was also a journalist, and editor-in-chief of  the Moravian […]

Book Review: Petr Král’s In Search of the Essence of Place

Book Review: Petr Král’s In Search of the Essence of Place

Secret Places, Eternal Meaning In 1968, as the Prague Spring unravelled under Soviet guns, Petr Král fled Czechoslovakia for Paris. There, he joined the Surrealist movement founded by André Breton and began to master the language of his adopted city. French became his new literary vehicle, and is the language of his most intensely personal […]

Book Review: Anna Porter’s The Ghosts of Europe

Book Review: Anna Porter’s The Ghosts of Europe

The Prisoner Syndrome “We now have democracy,” remarked Czechoslovakia’s president Tomas Masaryk in 1918, after the cobbling together of his beloved postwar multinational state, “all we need are some democrats.” Unfortunately, the countries of Central Europe were to endure some ninety-odd years of identity crisis, marred by decades of totalitarian rule – both fascist and […]

Book Review: Laurent Binet’s HHhH

Book Review: Laurent Binet’s HHhH

Resisting the Gestapo On 27 May 1942, Reinhard Heydrich lay in the Na Bulovce Hospital in Prague with a broken rib, a perforated diaphragm, a damaged thoracic cage and with the fragment of a black Mercedes lodged in his spleen. Or was it a green Mercedes? This kind of detail matters to Binet, and he […]

Book Review: Madeleine Albright’s Prague Winter

Book Review: Madeleine Albright’s Prague Winter

Democracy in Exile “The foreign policy of every small country begins with one small question: How can we survive?” This is the thread that runs through Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948, Madeleine Albright’s absorbing family memoir and lucid history of her first homeland, Czechoslovakia. More history than memoir, Prague Winter […]

The Czech Spirit of Rebellion

History has made the fall of communism in Europe over the autumn and winter of 1989 seem inevitable. But that’s not how it felt to the courageous Czechoslovak students, who, just days after the fall of the Berlin Wall, took advantage of an officially-sanctioned International Student Day to push for democratic reform in the capital […]

Prague Spring Remembered

Prague Spring Remembered

The New Year 1968 dawned with the chill air of Prague shimmering with excitement; A power struggle had shaken the Central Committee as reformer Alexander Dubček challenged hard-liner Antonín Novotný for control of the Czech Communist Party. Frantic, Novotný had secretly pleaded for support from Soviet Premier Leonid Brezhnev who hastened to Prague to face the […]

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