Czechoslovakia Behind the Curtain

Life, Work and Culture in the Communist Era


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About the Book

During the Cold War, the West—especially in the popular media—tended to view communism as a monolithic phenomenon, with little variation throughout the Eastern Bloc. Yet culture and geography contributed to social diversity among and within communist systems.
Drawing on interviews with approximately 100 Czechs and Slovaks, the author provides new perspectives on day-to-day life in the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Their recollections paint a more complex picture of the life on the other side of the Iron Curtain, from the Sputnik era reforms of the early 1960s, through the tumult of the 1968 Prague Spring and the subsequent Soviet invasion, to the Velvet Revolution, the collapse of the communist regime and the formation of democratic Czechoslovakia in 1989.

About the Author(s)

Thomas K. Murphy, Ph.D., taught history and culture for the Open Society Foundation (Civic Education Project) from 1997 to 1999 at Prešov University, Slovakia. From 1999 he served as Collegiate Professor of history and government for the University of Maryland’s European Division. He lives and writes in Belgium and Italy.

Bibliographic Details

Thomas K. Murphy
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 222
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7280-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3177-6
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  vi
Preface  1
Introduction  3
One: Work  13
Two: School and Education  27
Three: Culture, Entertainment and Leisure  39
Four: Consumerism  61
Five: The Communist Party  79
Six: 1968  95
Seven: Normalization After the Events of 1968  109
Eight: Religion  126
Nine: Roma Policy  142
Ten: Examining Memory  162
Conclusion  180
Chapter Notes  189
Bibliography  203
Index  209