The TV, the Self-Service Store and the Superwoman Cover Image

The TV, the Self-Service Store and the Superwoman
The TV, the Self-Service Store and the Superwoman

Author(s): Martin Franc
Subject(s): Review
Published by: Ústav pro soudobé dějiny AV ČR

Summary/Abstract: According to the reviewer, this publication, a Czech translation of The Greengrocer and His TV: The Culture of Communism after the 1968 Prague Spring (Ithaca, NY:Cornell University Press, 2010) by the American historian Paulina Bren is exactly the kind of contribution to Czech history from abroad that Czechs have to welcome with open arms. It contains extremely interesting observations, an original grasp of a whole previously untouched topic, sketched-out comparisons and analogies not only with Soviet life and events in other countries of the Eastern Bloc, but also with developments in western Europe and the United States of America. It is written in a rather essayist style, which is still quite unusual for Czech readers, and is free of the burden of great amounts of descriptive information. The emphasis's on individual ideas and the book is entirely free from any clumsy positivist endeavor to present a synthesis of all the facts, large and small, related to the considerably wide topic. That then makes allows the author to create a coherent and rather gripping picture, which, however, does not fully make its impact until it enters into dialogue with the active reader. This is a book that does not close a debate, but, on the contrary, initiates it. And it is precisely such books that are still lacking in Czech historiography, particularly in the field of contemporary history.None the less, on some particular points the picture sketched out by the author only partly corresponds to reality and sometimes even completely misses it. That shortcoming stems from a lack of knowledge of the deeper cultural background of certain adopted clichés and misinterpretations, but also from a number of factual errors, which could have been corrected by the translator or the editor.

  • Issue Year: IV/2016
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 187-193
  • Page Count: 7
  • Language: English