“When I got my library card, that was when my life began.”
Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright
After living in Germany and deciding Prague was my favorite “walking city”, I thought it was high time I understood the tumultuous history of this capital city. Albright does a fair job of bringing 1000 years of history quickly to a head with the advent of The Great War and then WWII. She addresses why the country “Czechoslovakia” had any chance of unification with distinct nationalities (Czechs, Slovaks and Germans) living together and fleshes out the larger-than-life personality of TG Masaryk–who most likely, because of his charisma, was able to see potential and grow a basis of support from his countrymen. Albright’s father has a starring role in the book and it’s his job as foreign secretary that helps bring historical perspective to better understand the troubles Nazi Germany brought to leadership in Prague. As for Albright’s family being of Jewish heritage and her discovery of this late in life–the book doesn’t dwell; and that’s good. The book is best seen as a narrative of war and resistance to communism.