Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia
Mariusz Szczygiel & Antonia Lloyd-Jones
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Winner of the Europe Book Prize
One of Europe’s most preeminent investigative journalists travels to the Czech Republic—the Czech half of the former Czechoslovakia, the land that brought us Kafka—to explore the surreal fictions and the extraordinary reality of its twentieth century.
For example, there’s the story of the small businessman who adopted Henry Ford’s ideas on productivity to create the world’s largest shoe company—and hired modernist giants such as Le Corbusier to design his company towns (which were also the birthplaces of Ivana Trump and Tom Stoppard).
Or the story of Kafka’s niece, who loaned her name to writers blacklisted under the Communist regime so they could keep publishing.
Or the story of the singer Karel Gott, winner of the country’s Best Male Vocalist Award thirty-six years in a row, whose summer home, Gottland, is the Czech Dollywood.
Based on meticulous research and hundreds of interviews with everyone from filmmakers to writers to pop stars to ordinary citizens, Gottland is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a resilient people living through difficult and often bizarre times—equally funny, disturbing, stirring and absurd . . . in a word, Kafkaesque.
From the Hardcover edition.
Publishers Weekly Review
© Publishers Weekly
A precious rare view into Czechs
History not often covered is concisely and entertaining laid out. A bit blunt. It's verse that anyone who knows Slavs will recognize. If you are at all interested in Bohemia, even as just a tourist, this is a must. And if you are not, it's just a good read.