Cold War Books in the ‘Other’ Europe and What Came After


Drawing on analyses of the socio-cultural context of East and Central Europe, with a special focus on the Czech cultural dynamics of the Cold War and its aftermath, this book offers a study of the making and breaking of the centrally-controlled system of book production and reception. It explores the social, material and symbolic reproduction of the printed text, in both official and alternative spheres, and patterns of dissemination and reading. Building on archival research, statistical data, media analyses, and in-depth interviews with the participants of the post-1989 de-centralization and privatization of the book world, it revisits the established notions of ‘censorship’ and ‘revolution’ in order to uncover people’s performances that contributed to both the reproduction and erosion of the ‘old regime’.

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Jiřina Šmejkalová, CSc/Ph.D. (1991) in Sociology, Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, Prague, is Reader in Cultural Studies at the University of Lincoln, UK. She has published on cultural and gender issues in Central Europe, including Kniha [The book] (Host, 2000).
"Jiřina Šmejkalová’s comprehensive work Cold War Books in the “Other” Europe and What Came After stands out in its ambition to enter into dialogue with an international public and with a readership interested specifically in Czech literature. This ambition is fully achieved. With this major work, Šmejkalová has made a substantial contribution to raising international knowledge of Czech communication culture and updating Bohemist methodology in the rapidly developing field of book history. She offers a wealth of information, fruitful ideas, and reasoning... In short, Šmejkalová’s book constitutes a Czech and international academic event." - Karen Gammelgaard, in: Scando-Slavica, 59:2, 256-257 (Full review text: DOI: 10.1080/00806765.2013.855370)
"Le livre de Jirina Smejkalova est passionnant tant son spectre est large, diversifié, tant elle relie en permanence
la situation du livre, de ses lecteurs et de ses producteurs à l’ensemble de la situation sociale, avec une grande finesse, tout en nuances. Les lecteurs [...] y apprendront beaucoup." - Martine Poulain, in: Bulletin des bibliothèques de France, Vol. 57, No. 4 (2012), pp. 84-85
"[Smejkalová's] monograph is thus an interesting and thorough study, not only from the point of view of publishing, but also from the point of view of Cold War studies." - Sari Autio-Sarasmo, University of Helsinki, in: Slavic Review, Vol. 71, No. 3 (Fall 2012), pp. 686-687

Part I. Command Book Project: Origins and Feedbacks
Chapter One. What is known about (totalitarian) books?
Chapter Two. Monitoring the ‘Red Model’

Part II. Manufacturing Cold War Books
Chapter Three. The Ambiguities of Censorship and Resistance
Chapter Four. Suppressing the Margins
Chapter Five. Performing Silences
Chapter Six. The Literary Establishment

Part III. ... and What Comes after ...
Chapter Seven. Discontinual Continuities
Chapter Eight. Freedom in Print
Chapter Nine. The Paper Revolutionaries

Instead of a Conclusion


All those interested in cultural and intellectual history, cultural studies of the Cold War and its aftermath, the history and sociology of books, as well as East Europeanists and slavists.