|Prague Winter : A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948
|by Albright, Madeleine Korbel; Woodward, Bill (CON)
|Part I Before March 15, 1939|
|6 Out from Behind the Mountains||72||(9)|
|7 "We Must Go On Being Cowards"||81||(20)|
|Part II April 1939-April 1942|
|10 Occupation and Resistance||129||(13)|
|12 The Irresistible Force||156||(13)|
|14 The Alliance Comes Together||182||(16)|
|15 The Crown of Wenceslas||198||(15)|
|Part III May 1942-April 1945|
|21 Doodlebugs and Gooney Birds||286||(13)|
|Part IV May 1945-November 1948|
|25 A World Big Enough to Keep Us Apart||331||(13)|
|27 Struggle for a Nations Soul||363||(13)|
|28 A Failure to Communicate||376||(9)|
|30 Sands Through the Hourglass||395||(14)|
|The Next Chapter||409||(8)|
|Guide to Personalities||417||(4)|
The former Secretary of State paints a portrait of her early life from 1937 to 1948 during which she witnessed the Nazi invasion of her native Prague, the Holocaust, the defeat of fascism, the rise of communism, and the onset of the Cold War.
*Starred Review* Albright learned, when secretary of state under President Bill Clinton, that her ancestry was Jewish and that many of her relatives perished in the Holocaust. Impelled to research her family history, she here integrates her discoveries and a historical narrative of Czechoslovakian politics in the WWII era, focusing on "why we make the choices we do." Born in 1937 to a Czech diplomat, Albright recalls her earliest memories of German-bombed England, to which her family had escaped from their Nazi-conquered homeland. She fondly remembers her elder cousin, Da?a, but wonders why Da?a's younger sister, Milena, had been left behind in Prague. A prewar picture of the three girls poignantly depicts the stakes of Albright's core concern, which she applies to numerous political crises that afflicted Czechoslovakia. Should the country have fought in 1938? Should its exiled leaders have assassinated Reinhard Heydrich in 1942? Could Democrats have staved off the Communists in 1948? Through the connection of her father to Czechoslovak leaders, Albright shows the impact on individuals of such historical questions, accessing political history for a wide readership, which she seals with her powerfully somber accounting of the fates of her extended family, Milena included. No reader will close her memoir unmoved. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Albright, who served as U.S. secretary of state from 1997 to 2001, is also the author of three New York Times best-selling books; her latest will have a 150,000-copy first printing and heavy publisher promotion. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.
The former U.S. secretary of state blends World War II–era history and memoir in her account of her discovery, at age 59, that she had lost more than two-dozen relatives in the Holocaust. Albright's (Memo to the President Elect: How We Can Restore America's Reputation and Leadership, 2008, etc.) parents had never told her of her Jewish heritage, and in January 1997 she had only recently learned of it when a Washington Post reporter broke the larger story. She spent the ensuing years researching her family's history and the history of her native Czechoslovakia. She was aided in her endeavors by family material she found stored in boxes in her garage-and by a small research team. Born in 1937, the author naturally doesn't remember the war's earliest days, so the initial sections are principally a summary of history of the region and the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. Occasionally, she slips into the first person to talk about the activities of her father, a career diplomat, and her mother, a diplomat's wife but also a woman very interested in the supernatural. The most gripping parts are those personal stories; the others mostly repeat what can be found in many histories of the war and Holocaust. Retellings do not, of course, diminish the horror, but Albright sometimes focuses more on the politics and the war than on the remembrance. The personal passages increase in number and detail as she grows older. Also engaging are the later sections, which deal with the postwar politics in Czechoslovakia, especially the communists' moves to subvert the fledgling democracy. Although much is conventional history, the unconventional-the personal-animates and brightens the narrative. Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.