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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’.