The Hot Summer of 1968

Viliam Klimáček
Peter Petro (Translator)
ISBN Number: 

During the Cold War and behind The Berlin Wall, the Czechoslovakian Communist Party experimented with “Socialism with a human face” known as the “Prague Spring”. For a brief window of time there was freedom of the press, an end to arbitrary wiretaps; and citizens regained the right to travel without prior authorizations and visas. That summer, many families found hope until suddenly on the night of August 20th, 1968, Soviet tanks invaded Prague. For a brief time, the Austrian border remained open and families and individuals made the hardest decisions of their lives, to stay or flee? Written from the collective accounts of real people, Viliam Klimacek takes the stories of 10 people and explores their lives before and after that fateful summer, and all that came with it as they stayed or fled to countries as far as Canada, the United States, and Australia.

An astounding historical account, this book is part memoir and part commentary on the feelings and motives of the common Czech people, impacted by the 1968 events. Following several families, the story does an excellent job of showing their progress before and after the summer of 1968 and keeps the reader invested in their lives with both insight into their thoughts and motives, while still entertaining the reader with the author’s own opinions and feelings. While the reader might be hindered by a lack of knowledge of this time, amazingly, the story reveals a clear love for their native country while still communicating a clear frustration and distain for the way the politics of the time played out. Overall, this is a worthwhile must-read book!

Sarah E Bradley