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The Prague Spring and its Aftermath: Czechoslovak Politics, 1968-1970 Paperback – 11 Sep 1997
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'This highly acclaimed book, which was awarded the 1998 BASEES/Orbis prize, recounts the story of the Prague Spring from the perspective of elite politics. It is particularly important because it draws largely on previously secret files … and it thereby replaces with fact those passages of earlier scholarly works that were based primarily on conjecture.' Karen Henderson, University of Leicester
'… highly valuable … demonstrates in a clear-cut way …' Contemporary European History
The Prague Spring of 1968 was one of the few pre-Gorbachev attempts to reform one party communist rule. This book analyses the attempt at reform under Alexander Dubcek and its suppression by the Soviet Union, using archive materials and other sources which have become available since the 1989 revolution.See all Product description
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
Amazon.com: 4 reviews
I like it. Read it for a college history class
19 March 2015 - Published on Amazon.com
One person found this helpful.
I like it. Read it for a college history class.
Dubcek No Hero
6 January 2001 - Published on Amazon.com
6 people found this helpful.
Though I enjoy academic history books, Williams' style is at tinme too scholarly. I would have enjoyed more examples of a personal nature, such as when Williams briefly describes the local efforts to resist Soviet soldiers' brutality. This is a minor criticism, however. I found the politics fascinating, but no Czech or Slovak leader, perhaps most especially Dubcek, is left unscathed by the damning record of vacillation, subtle and often blatant deception, and finally capitulation("realism") and corrosive accommodation. Williams' ends his book most fittingly, with a quote from Czech students after Jan Palach's suicide that sums up the sorry story of a quest for liberty without commitment or sacrifice.I also found the underlying tension between Slovak and Czech most enlightening, and goes a long way to understanding the always subsurface resentment that ultimately led to the "Velvet Divorce," which may have its roots in the Prague Spring debacle.This book is a must for anyone interested in the local intrigues in this seminal event of the Cold War, but Williams only lightly touches on many other interesting issues that have yet to coalesce in a definitive treatment.
Tim Snyder (email@example.com)
Necessary for those who teach or study the Prague Spring.
7 May 1998 - Published on Amazon.com
11 people found this helpful.
Kieran Williams has produced the best available summary and analysis of the high politics of the Prague Spring and the "normalization" which followed the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia of August 1968. While the book is of an appropriate length and style for interested readers and undergraduates, its impressive use of archival materials (in Russian, Czech, Slovak, and German) and its careful argumentation make it required reading for historians and political scientists as well. Williams succeeds in unpacking the various components of Czechoslovak reform communism, in explaining the ways in which Dubcek and his allies violated Soviet expectations, and in describing the creep of "normalization." In so doing, he dissolves several myths. No reader of this book will believe that the Soviet-led intervention was an immediate success, nor that Czechs and Slovaks lacked the idealism needed to resist communism. Williams reminds us that Dubcek was in power for as long after the invasion as he was before it, and that "normalization" began with the voluntary compromises by society which he requested. Williams also demonstrates a good sense of proportion: he uses theories of political sciences, but has clearly selected from a wide corpus rather than relying upon what is presently fashionable; he points up where previous analysis were mistaken, but does so economically; he compares reform communism in Czechoslovakia to that of Gorbachev, but without pressing the point; he describes the brutality of the Soviet occupiers, while letting the details speak for themselves. Some of the book's specific arguments are unpersuasive, and its major flaw is the lack of an introduction that would remind the reader of the major events to be discussed, and of a conclusion which would review the major arguments, emphasize what is new in the analysis, and recount how theories of political science relate to the narrative. All in all, however, an excellent book.
This is written for those with a strong familiarity of ...
18 July 2014 - Published on Amazon.com
This is written for those with a strong familiarity of European history and politics. I've used it for research, but it can be difficult for beginners.