This book, the most thoroughly researched and accurate history of Czechoslovakia to appear in English, tells the story of the country from its founding in 1918 to partition in 1992-from fledgling democracy through Nazi occupation, Communist rule, and invasion by the Soviet Union to, at last, democracy again.
The common Western view of Czechoslovakia has been that of a small nation that was sacrificed at Munich in 1938 and betrayed to the Soviets in 1948, and which rebelled heroically against the repression of the Soviet Union during the Prague Spring of 1968.
Mary Heimann dispels these myths and shows how intolerant nationalism and an unhelpful sense of victimhood led Czech and Slovak authorities to discriminate against minorities, compete with the Nazis to persecute Jews and Gypsies, and pave the way for the Communist police state.
She also reveals Alexander Dubcek, held to be a national hero and standard-bearer for democracy, to be an unprincipled apparatchik.
Well written, revisionist, and accessible, this groundbreaking book should become the standard history of Czechoslovakia for years to come.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 432 pages, 20 illustrations
- Publisher: Yale University Press
- Publication Date: 11/01/2011
- Category: European history
- ISBN: 9780300172423
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Review by xuebi
Heimann provides one of the most comprehensive history of Czechoslovakia in print; and she challenges the previously-held notion that the country was merely a victim of international machinations; she illuminates the contradictions and unsavoury elements in Czechoslovak history. Particularly interesting are the chapters on the wartime persecution of Jews, the post-war expulsion of Germans and Hungarian, and the extensive writing on the Prague Spring. <br/><br/>This book is excellent for those with a serious interest in Czech history, but also for those interested in modern European history, Communism, and socio-political influences on nation states. For one not familiar with Czechoslovak history, this book will come away with a clear picture of it.