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A Tour of Corrupt Prague

A Tour of Corrupt Prague

At Jungmannovo Náměstí, a small cobbled square in central Prague, a guide waits for customers for a tour that is sold as “entirely unique in the history of tourism”. Edita Čechová, dressed in tall black boots, a black cloak with a large flat cap atop her flowing blond hair, works for Corrupt Tours which, according […]

Dvořák, the Moldau, and the Cubists

Dvořák, the Moldau, and the Cubists

The only time you can see Prague’s Charles Bridge is at dawn. At all other times of day it is hidden by a mighty stream of tourists, as well as trinket vendors, buskers and reputedly, the occasional pickpocket. But at daybreak, the beauty of the mediaeval bridge, built in the second half of the 14th […]

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 […]

Book Review: Louis Begley’s The Tremendous World I Have Inside My Head

Fear and Longing in Prague Europe in the beginning of the twentieth century can be compared to a knot. Constantly tightening, the rope at both ends tugging ever harder, neither side showing any signs of giving in, as it becomes clearer that the knot will eventually violently burst. The time was turbulent to say the […]

The City of a Thousand Spires

The drive from Vienna to Prague is simple enough: north to Brno and then west, three-and-a-half hours straight into the Czech capital. It would be a romantic weekend zu zweit – just my girlfriend Zuzana and me – and the only inconveniences the poorly paved Czech roads (more fit for a dune buggy than our […]

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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