Making History: Czech Voices of Dissent and the Revolution of 1989

By Krapfl, James | Canadian Slavonic Papers, March 2009 | Go to article overview

Making History: Czech Voices of Dissent and the Revolution of 1989


Krapfl, James, Canadian Slavonic Papers


Michael Long. Making History: Czech Voices of Dissent and the Revolution of 1989. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005. xiv, 189 pp. Appendix. Notes. Bibliography. Index. $86.85, cloth. $37.76, paper.

Considering how much has been written about Czech dissidents, one wonders whether we really need another book about them. Long's contribution - a compendium of oral history interviews - covers little territory that has not been explored before, but it does present the evidence in a readable and personal fashion.

Long's book consists primarily of eleven interviews he conducted in 1998 with Praguers who were prominent in the cultural underground and/or dissident circles around Charter 77. In the interviews, Long invites his informants to reflect on how they became active in opposition, their involvement in the revolution of 1989, and the subsequent development of Czech society. While most of Long's informants have been perennial targets of English-speaking researchers desirous of interviews, a few of them (Jirousová, Kocáb, Kummerman, and UhI) have been less frequently consulted; their interviews are consequently among the most interesting. Long has done a good job of seeking gender balance (five women to six men), and though Long never poses a gender-specific question, a clear difference in narratives along gender lines emerges. (One is in fact reminded of Shana Penn's findings from underground Solidarity, where men tended to claim the spotlight while women did the work.) The interviews, which Long conducted in English and Czech, are presented as minimally edited transcripts, so they can be read as primary sources. Unfortunately there are a few shortcomings in the English translations of the Czech-language interviews - reflecting the fact that the translator was evidently not a native English-speaker - but nowhere are these crucial.

While those familiar with Czech dissidence or the revolution of 1989 will find nothing revelatory in this book, the testimonies remain interesting. In some cases they help us appreciate better the experiential side of recent history, as when Eda Kriseová describes her work in Havel's retinue of "advisors" during his first term as Czechoslovak president, or when Michael Kocáb recalls his negotiations with remarkably passive Soviet military officers from the beginning of the revolution to the final withdrawal of Soviet troops. Read together, the interviews also make it clear what a ghetto the Prague dissident world was. We see on one hand how strong social ties within the group often helped shield its members from the worst forms of persecution, but we also see how isolated this group was from the rest of the Czechoslovak population.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Making History: Czech Voices of Dissent and the Revolution of 1989
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.