Czech History: In the Express Lane
I’ve recently finished reading “Great Stories in Czech History” by Petr Čornej. A fast paced book published in 2005 that, in a mere 142 pages, takes the reader from the arrival of the first Slav tribes in the 6th and 7th centuries to the split of Czechoslovakia in 1993.
Needless to say, this book is clearly meant for general interest readers and does not delve deeply into the historical events and personalities that it touches upon. It does, however, give the reader an effictive gist of where these events and people fit into the historical fabric of the nation and the part each of them played in making the nation and the people what they are.
As such, this book would be a very good companion for anyone visiting the Czech lands or planning to do so. It will serve well as an accessible and manageable primer and guide that will explain further the significance of the names and events you may hear mentioned on tours of historical sights.
Given its modest size and weight as well as its paperback format, this book will go into your carry-on luggage easily so you can bring yourself up to speed on basic Czech history on your way here.
From a Qualified Voice
The author, Petr Čornej, is a respected Czech historian with specializations in the late Middle Ages and historiography. He has worked as a history teacher in Prague’s Charles University.
Though translated from its original Czech, the author’s passion for the subject comes through well.
A Few Nitpicks
While I have no problems recommending this book, there are a couple of aspects of it that could be better.
While the text is written in a completely non academic way, it appears that not much time was given to proofreading between translation to English and printing. There are typographical and grammatical errors throughout the book which, while not overwhelming, do sometimes create confusion for the reader.
A secondary problem spot comes in the rather haphazard distribution of the illustrations in the book. While the illustrations are nice to have, there is really very little regard given to text format and flow in their placement. This creates a lack of consistency in page format and makes the text on some pages much more difficult for the reader’s eye to follow than on others.
Great Stories in Czech History
by Petr Čornej
published in 2005 by Práh