Reflections of Prague: Journeys Through the 20th Century

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Wiley, May 18, 2006 - History - 318 pages
Reflections of Prague is the story of how a Czech Jewish family become embroiled in the most tragic and tumultuous episodes of the twentieth century.  Through their eyes we see the history of their beloved Prague, a unique European city, and the wider, political forces that tear their lives apart. Their moving story traces the major events, turmoil, oppression and triumphs of Europe through the last hundred years – from the Austro-Hungarian Empire to the First World War; from the vibrant artistic and intellectual life of Prague in the times of Kafka, the Capek Brothers and Masaryk to years of hunger in a Polish ghetto and the concentration camps of Hitler; from the tyrannous rule of Stalin to the rekindled hopes of Dubcek and the subsequent Soviet occupation to liberation under Havel. Told from Ivan’s perspective, it is a poignant but uplifting tale that tells of life lived with purpose and conviction, in the face of personal suffering and sacrifice.

‘A remarkable book. This archetypical story of the twentieth century is intertwined with an almost stream-of-consciousness narrative of the history of the Czechs, of Prague, interspersed with samples of exquisite poetry by great contemporary poets. So the narrative flows like Eliot’s sweet Thames full of the debris of tragic lives, of horrors, of moments of beauty and testimonies of love – all against the backdrop of man’s inhumanity.’ Josef Škvorecký

‘A poignant and vivid mémoire of a child searching for traces of his father, lost in the murky ideologies of post war Central Europe.  An engrossing book.’ Sir John Tusa

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About the author (2006)

Ivan Margolius was born in Prague, where he began studying architecture at the Czech Institute of Technology. In 1966 he arrived in the United Kingdom and completed his training, before practicing at Foster and Partners, Skidmore Owings & Merrill, and Yorke Rosenberg Mardall. He is the author and co-author of many award winning historical, architectural and design publications, including Prague – a guide to twentieth-century architecture, Tatra – The Legacy of Hans Ledwinka, Art + Architecture, Architects + Engineers = Structures and Czech Inspiration. He is the son of JUDr Rudolf Margolius, who was murdered as a results of the infamous Slánský Trial in Prague.

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