Sunday, March 17, 2013

Prague Winter by Madeleine Albright

The sepia-tone picture of a young Albright on the cover may lead you to think of this book as a memoir. This wouldn't necessarily be wrong, depending on your definition of a memoir. However, the subtitle of the book, A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948, provides a better indication of the type of book Prague Winter is.

The book is a personal story, but it is a personal story told by one of the most powerful women of the 20th Century, a woman whose family suffered through harsh conditions during the war. The resulting story is a unique mix of personal, Czechoslovakian , and international history that is at once complex and highly readable.

Prague Winter opens in the 1990s, with Albright discovering that her family has Jewish ancestry, and that members of her extended family perished during the Holocaust. This is the beginning of Albright's incredible personal journey, and she invites readers to join her on her quest for discovery.

Anyone who has done genealogical research knows that it can often be slow going, and that it must be coupled with historical context to give it meaning. Some of this process is replicated in the pages of this book. Albright supplies her readers with the context necessary to fully appreciate and understand her personal story.

Prague Winter is not a simple recollection of memories. It is a multifaceted work of history, both personal and informative. Readers will learn as much about the former Czechoslovakia as they will about Albright and her family.

4 comments:

billy said...

Madeleine Albright was Kunal's and my graduation speaker at Carolina, a month or so after we lost to Georgetown in the tournament. Between those two events she went on Colbert and talked about how proud she was of the Georgetown basketball team (she taught there). I was horrified. True story.

Brent Waggoner said...

I'd consider the above comment a memoir.

trish said...

She sounds like a great storyteller, which would make the historical pieces fascinating (for me at least).

Thanks for being on the tour!

maphead said...

I really enjoyed this book. Glad you did too!
Here's a link to my review:
http://maphead.wordpress.com/2013/01/29/madeleine-albrights-prague-winter/