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From Good King Wenceslas to the Good Soldier Švejk

A Dictionary of Czech Popular Culture

Andrew Roberts is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. In addition to writing on the politics of Eastern Europe, he also follows popular culture in post-communist countries.

Roberts' book follows in the tradition of recent scholarship that seeks to emphasize the importance of popular culture and the wealth of knowledge that can be gained through an analysis of the daily lives and practices of individuals. Focusing on popular songs, movie stars, famous athletes, traditional dishes, and children's games that are second nature to every Czech, Roberts' work serves as an introduction to Czech popular culture. This dictionary is a sizeable achievement as it offers an English readership an invaluable source of information to a rich body of material that has thus far remained ephemeral. The six hundred entries are cross-referenced and allow readers to pursue particular topics in greater depth. Written in a readable style this work is easily accessible to a wide readership.

"This is the book that I wish someone had given me the day I arrived in Prague’s the best companion an expat in this country could ask for" – The Prague Post

"This very readable overview of Czech culture by Roberts... is unique, informative, and valuable. Summing up: Highly recommended". - Choice

"The author's unstated underlying objective is anything but postmodernist: to capture the essence of Czechness, at least in recent times...
Roberts's style is not only engaging, but also humorous. He peppers his entries with jokes and adds spice to those that might otherwise read as a dry recitation of facts". - Slavic and East European Journal

"Andrew Roberts has compiled a highly informative and enjoyable dictionary of Czech popular culture. The topics covered include society, politics, history, literature, music, movies, sports and much more. Regardless of length, the entries are clear and well-written. Historical background is provided whenever needed. The book is rounded off with a useful alphabetical and thematic index to all dictionary entries.

People interested in Czech history, culture and politics will find this work a valuable source for informative descriptions and definitions. All the more so because it is written in a lucid, wry style which is a pleasure to read. The author has a good eye for the little oddities of everyday life and a remarkable understanding of the Czech mentality and worldview (I especially liked the way he highlights Czech quirks with respect and humor).

A big plus is the author's website, where he regularly updates and extends his book."

"I ended up ordering copies of the book for several of my friends who shared my experiences, and they have loved it too!" - Amazon (two readers' reviews)

220 pages
ISBN 978-963-7326-26-4 cloth $50.00 / €42.95 / £37.00
ISBN 978-963-7326-27-1 paperback $25.95 / €23.95 / £18.99