Some of you were asking for some additional information and because I'm no Czech expert
whatsoever I put together this list of books you might find helpful and that are instantly
available to you via Amazon.com. I didn't include all books they have about the
Czech Repubic, revolution, etc., but only the fragment of the collection that I think that
could be interesting for you. I also excluded many books that Amazon offers but that are
"hard to find" or even unavailable. Most of the paperbacks are between $8 and
$20, the hardcovers range from $25 to $55.
Havel and the Velvet Revolution (People in Focus Series) by Jeffrey Symynkywicz
- This is supposed to be a great book for high school students (at least judged just by
the price, which is only $6.30). The title summarizes all.
- Paperback, 1995
in Eastern Europe : Understanding the Collapse of Communism in Poland, Hungary, East
Germany, Czechoslovakia, Romania, and the Soviet Union by Peter Cipkowski
This concise book analyzes the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, country by country,
during 1989 and 1990. It includes photographs, time lines, maps, and cartoons.
Paperback, 184 pages, 1991
Velvet Revolution : A Political Analysis (East European Monographs, No 345)
: Anvil of the Cold War by John and Sylvia Crane
Amazon's information: "This groundbreaking work presents a revisionist history of
Czechoslovakia's struggle for independence from 1917 to the death of Jan Masaryk in March
1948. The authors focus on three critical events in Czechoslovak history: the year of its
founding in the midst of the Bolshevik Revolution in 1918, the Munich betrayal in 1938,
and the Communist coup of 1948. Their account is informed by John Crane's long-standing
personal acquaintance with the Masaryk family and by Sylvia Crane's extensive research
into previously inaccessible original archival sources. "
Hardcover, January 1991
Intervention in Czechoslovakia, 1968 : Anatomy of a Decision
The Warsaw Pact attack to Czechoslovakia was the major event for my parents' generation.
Find more about it here. Also note that Amazon has more books related to the Prague
Paperback, 264 pages, 1991
1918-92 : A Laboratory for Social Change
My grandmother has lived in seven different countries during her life - yet she has never
moved out of Prague. How comes? The answer lies in this book.
Hardcover, July 1996
Charter 77's Decade of Dissent by Janusz Bugajski
Although this book is aged, it may give you the "feel" of the old times. And,
after all, Amazon thinks that "This work should be considered mandatory reading
for any student of Eastern Europe. The anatomy of the dissident movement of
Czechoslovakia--its scope activities, affiliations at home and abroad--has been well
documented and presented in a lucid manner. Failures and successes of Charter 77, as well
as its future prospects, are described in a very balanced manner. It is an important study
by a well-informed and self disciplined researcher and expert on Eastern Europe."
The New Life
Break-Up of Czechoslovakia : An In-Depth Economic Analysis by Oldrich Dedek
Analyzing the major post-revolutionary event from an economist's perspective.
Hardcover, July 1996
in Freedom : The New Prague
Paperback, 261 pages, 1994
and Yugoslavia : Ethnic Conflict and the Dissolution of Multinational States (Exploratory
Essays, No. 3) by Andrew Janos
I'd be interested myself what similarities or differences the author found. But you
probably know (when you came to this page) that it was Yugoslavia, not
Czechoslovakia, that suffered from a civil war in the 1990's - don't you?
Paperback, June 1997
in Transition : Politics, Economics and Society by Sharon Wolchik
Hardcover, February 1992
: The Rebirth of Liberty in the Heart of Europe by Vaclav Klaus
You may know Havel, but you might not know Klaus, who used to be our prime-minister till
very recently and who's attributed both the amazing successes of the transformation as
well as the tragic errors that took place. Amazon informs that this is a "wide-ranging
collection of more than two dozen of Klaus' essays and speeches in English (lightly edited
to make them more accessible to American readers). Part 1 offers general thoughts on the
transforming process; Part 2 examines Czech experience of what Klaus calls "systemic
reform" and privatization; Part 3 takes on a rapidly changing Europe and the Czech
Republic's place among its integrating neighbors; Part 4 explores "The Czech Republic
in the World." Most appropriate where interest in European developments is strong,
where free-market economic gurus' theories circulate, and perhaps where Havel's works
(most recently, The Art of the Impossible ) attract attention."
Europe After the Cold War : Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary in Search of Security.by
Amazon: "The author explores how countries in eastern Europe have responded to
such dramatic changes as the breakup of the Soviet Union, the reunification of Germany,
the restructuring of their relations with the European Union and NATO, the unstable
situation on their southern and eastern borders, and the fundamental need to reform their
armed forces. Chapters discuss both general topics and specific countries."
Up Girls in Bohemia by Michal Viewegh (fiction)
It was a surprise to see this book translated.. well... probably not so big, after all,
because Viewegh has become one of the most prominent young Czech authors these days.
You'll find very little politics here, but it can give you a picture of today's Czech
society. And you'll even have some.. well.. probably a lot of fun along the way. Good
Dissident Authors' Fiction
(please note: there's MUCH more of these books in Amazon, I'm presenting
you with just what I think you might like).
Miracle Game by Josef Skvorecky
This book takes place in the 50's - the darkest age of stalinism in Czechoslovakia. Like
other Skvorecky's books, however, the reality of persecution of the catholic priests is
mixed with a bitter humor and wild eroticism. I read it and definitely can recommend.
You'll get an unusual perspective on how the communism looked like.
Loves by Ivan Klima
This nice book of short-stories by another dissident author who became famous after the
revolution shows that even the life in socialism had some poetics in it... If you want to
learn about the lands that were behind the Iron Curtain and don't feel like going through
some horrors or thorough scholarly work - choose Klima.
Many people know Kundera but almost none knows he is - or was - a Czech. This is one of
his most famous books (still from the "Czech" era) and it has certainly become a
classics. By reading it you'll dig into the somewhat humorous and strangely tragic era of
the wickedness of the 1950s...
Paperback, 336 pages
Here The President Goes
Garden Party and Other Plays by Vaclav Havel
Do you have a playwright as the president in your country? We do. Some of
the most famous Havel's plays are included in this book and you definitely should read it
if you want to learn more about the absurdness of "goulash communism". But be
warned -- Havel's style is quite unusual.
Letters : Selected Writings, 1965-1990 by Vaclav Havel & Paul Wilson
This book contains selected Havel's essays. As a reader put it: Vaclav Havel has been
called "the greatest moral thinker of our time" and "a sort of
EuroGhandi." While most noted as a playwright, Havel's most important works have been
of prose; essays such as "Power of the Powerless" and his "Open Letter to
Gustav Husak" allowed his nation to retain hope under brutal conditions. Now, Havel's
greatest essays, from the early sixties to his "New Year's Address" after his
1989 election to the presidency, have been collected in a volume that will, unlike most
political texts, make you think as well as feel.
Meditations by Vaclav Havel
As far as I know, this is the first book that Havel has written while already being the
president. He reflects there the nature and practice of politics throughout the world, and
calls for a moral political system, a responsible free market, and a statecraft that
honors human needs.
Havel or Living in Truth : 22 Essays...
This is another mixture of Havel's writings, both current and older.
Paperback, 315 pages
of the Impossible : Politics As Morality in Practice by Vaclav Havel
One of the many books with Havel's writings, this one focuses on Havel's central theme.
Hardcover, 288 pages, 1997
Czech Us Out!
Republic (Culture Shock! Guides) by Tim Nollen
Tim Nollen says about his book: "It is the book that takes you beyond the travel
guides and introduces you to the Czech people and their rich culture. It is designed for
those who plan to spend time living and working in the Czech Republic, and is the ideal
companion for those who plan to visit the country and want to know more than simply what
to see and do. Culture Shock! Czech Republic is filled with information about Czech
cultural history and various characteristics of today's Czechs, providing you with a
wealth of knowledge that should enable you to understand and appreciate the
differences--wonderful or difficult as they may be--and get the inside slant on Czech
society. You'll succeed in friendships and in business, and you'll love the experience.
" Uhm, my fellow Czechs cause a "culture shock" in me as well so I
guess I should get a copy of this Wise BOOK.
Hiring! Jobs in Eastern Europe : The Insider's Guide...
Midwest Book Review : "It provides the most current information about life and
work in the Eastern European countries of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and
Slovakia for the serious adventurer. Seasoned traveler Clarke Canfield provides informed
advice on deciding to go, how to prepare, getting there, finding accommodations, and
getting a job. For each country he covers, Canfield also provides information on finding a
teaching position, settling into a new home, and general city profiles. He also provides
information on the politics, history, geography, and customs of each country. Now Hiring!:
Jobs In Eastern Europe includes a detailed discussion of the pros and cons of teaching
English as a second language, sample lesson plans and helpful teaching tips. Each country
section has an up-to-date list of language schools that hire native speakers and presents
other employment options. "
Paperback, 320 pages, 1996
Tanks and Velvet Hangovers : An American in Prague by Douglas Lytle
Would you believe there was a monument of a Russian tank (the real world model) painted in
pink standing for a couple of weeks in
the center city? It happened (together with other things described here) in the first
sweet post-revolutionary years, when everything was possible and the Young Americans were
Paperback, 341 pages, 1995
Beaten Track Czech & Slovak Republics Paperback, September 1995