Academic journal article Journalism History

The Portrayal of Czechoslovakia in the American Print Media, 1938-1989

Academic journal article Journalism History

The Portrayal of Czechoslovakia in the American Print Media, 1938-1989

Article excerpt

Ference, Gregory C, ed. The Portrayal of Czechoslovakia in the American Print Media, 1938-1989. New York: Columbia University Press, 2006. 181 pp. $30.

While countries on its borders fell to dictators and oppression, Czechoslovakia, created from the Habsburg monarchy following World War I, became a hopeful foothold of democracy for the Western world. Each time the little country was challenged by a more powerful neighbor, it rose to the occasion. With questionable alliances with its allies-France (and through association, Great Britain) and the Soviet UnionCzechoslovakia became the underdog, a title championed by the American press. This book reviews America's print media comments and coverage of the Czech people during four pivotal years.

The style of this book is more textbook than a literary read, with only the first chapter, an introduction of American media coverage of Czechoslovakia, and the last written in a somewhat easy-to-read fashion. The other five chapters are, quite simply, research papers. And that is where the strength of this book lies.

Editor Gregory C. Ference, who authored one of the pieces in the book and co-authored another, has assembled a comprehensive study that should prove of value to communications scholars looking for a well-documented source to review America's media coverage of an eastern central European country that, on occasion, found itself in the center of world attention. It also provides historians of Eastern Central Europe an opportunity to view what the world saw when U.S. newspapers reported and commented on a small nation's struggle with international ramifications.

The book's organization is chronological. The introduction gives the reader an overview of world history as it unfolded during the years covered by the book's chapters: 1938, 1948, 1968, and 1989. …

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