Commies, Crooks, Gypsies, Spooks & Poets: Thirteen Books of Prague in the Year of the Great Lice Epidemic

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Steerforth Press, 1995 - History - 202 pages
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Journeying from Chicago for a year's stay in his Czech homeland, the author and his wife and two children live high and low amidst Prague's ancient glory and modern confusion, and Novak moves through Eastern Europe with a native's ease and a westerner's eye. His vivid accounts of daily life in the Czech Republic and of the tragic war unfolding next door in the former Yugoslavia are at once highly personal, raucous, comic, painful, and memorable. Novak ties his book together with personal accounts of fighting for oranges as a child in the Stalinist fifties, of getting beaten up by state security officers as a teenager in the sixties, of being expelled from his homeland "forever" in the seventies, and finally of passing on a sense of ethnic heritage to his American children.

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