Slovak nationalist sentiment has been a constant presence in the history of Czechoslovakia, coming to head in the torrent of nationalism that resulted in the dissolution of the Republic on January 1, 1993. James Felak examines a parallel episode in the 1930s with Slovak nationalists achieved autonomy for Slovakia-but “at the price” of the loss of East Central Europe's only parliamentary democracy and the strengthening of Nazi power.
The tensions between Czechs and Slovaks date back to the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918. Slovaks, who differed sharply in political tradition, social and economic development, and culture, and resented being governed by a centralized administration run from the Czech capital of Prague, formed the Slovak People's Party, led by Roman Catholic priest Ankrej Hlinka. Drawing heavily on Czech and Slovak archives, Felak provides a balanced history of the party, offering unprecedented insight into intraparty factionalism and behind-the-scenes maneuvering surrounding SSP's policy decisions.
Of even greater importance for Hungary's future were the activities of the champions of an independent state of Czechs and Slovaks. Tomáš Masaryk, a Czech professor of philosophy and a future leader of his people, was hard at work within a month of the outbreak of war lobbying in Paris and London for an independent Bohemia, still a major component of the Austrian Empire within the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which would incorporate the predominantly Slovak regions of northern Hungary. Masaryk, who was assisted in his efforts by Eduard Beneš, a bitter enemy of the Habsburgs. Thus the new state was effectively shaped before the Paris Peace Conference. But the Conference laid down the seeds of Czechoslovakia's later destruction. Only nine million Czechoslovaks lived in the state out of a population of fourteen million. A large discontented Hungarian minority lived in Slovakia, and the Polish majority area of Teschen poisoned Czech-Polish relations. Yet the greatest challenge came from the rise of the Nazis in Germany in 1930s: Masaryk always claimed that he did not want three and half million ethnic Germans, but he and Beneš accepted them nonetheless. Masaryk died in 1937, and Britain and France would not support the Czechs over the Sudetenland, the infamous deal struck in Munich by Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler.
Closely Watched Trains
Bohumil Hrabal Northwestern University Press, 1995 Library of Congress PG5039.18.R2O813 1995 | Dewey Decimal 891.8635
Hrabal's postwar classic about a young man's coming of age in German-occupied Czechoslovakia is among his most popular works. Milos Hrma is a timid railroad apprentice who insulates himself with fantasy against a reality filled with cruelty and grief. After receiving acclaim as a novel, Closely Watched Trains was made into a successful film that won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Film of 1967.
The legal system of the present-day Czech Republic cannot be understood without sufficient knowledge of its historical roots and evolution. Kuklík traces the development of Czech law from its origins as a form of Slavic law to its current position, reflecting the influence of both Roman law and the legal systems of neighboring countries. The twentieth century is of particular importance due to the establishment of an independent Czechoslovakia in 1918 and its split in 1993 into the Czech Republic and the Slovak Republic. It was a century encompassing periods of democratic as well as totalitarian regimes, and major political, ideological, economic, and social changes, making Czech Law in Historical Context an ideal case study for researchers interested in the transition of democratic legal systems into totalitarian regimes, and vice versa.
The Czech Reader brings together more than 150 primary texts and illustrations to convey the dramatic history of the Czechs, from the emergence of the Czech state in the tenth century, through the creation of Czechoslovakia in 1918 and the Czech Republic in 1993, into the twenty-first century. The Czechs have preserved their language, traditions, and customs, despite their incorporation into the Holy Roman Empire, the Habsburg Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the Third Reich, and the Eastern Bloc. Organized chronologically, the selections in The Czech Reader include the letter to the Czech people written by the religious reformer and national hero Jan Hus in 1415, and Charter 77, the fundamental document of an influential anticommunist initiative launched in 1977 in reaction to the arrest of the Plastic People of the Universe, an underground rock band. There is a speech given in 1941 by Reinhard Heydrich, a senior Nazi official and Deputy Reich Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, as well as one written by Václav Havel in 1984 for an occasion abroad, but read by the Czech-born British dramatist Tom Stoppard, since Havel, the dissident playwright and future national leader, was not allowed to leave Czechoslovakia. Among the songs, poems, folklore, fiction, plays, paintings, and photographs of monuments and architectural landmarks are “Let Us Rejoice,” the most famous chorus from Bedřich Smetana’s comic opera The Bartered Bride; a letter the composer Antonín Dvořák sent from New York, where he directed the National Conservatory of Music in the 1890s; a story by Franz Kafka; and an excerpt from Milan Kundera’s The Joke. Intended for travelers, students, and scholars alike, The Czech Reader is a rich introduction to the turbulent history and resilient culture of the Czech people.
As the clock struck midnight on December 31, 1992, Czechoslovakia, the only genuine democracy in post-World War I Central-Eastern Europe, broke up into two independent successor states. This book explores the failed search for a postcommunist constitution and it records in a lively style a singular instance of the peaceful settlement of an ethnic dispute.
For more than three years after the implosion of the Communist regime in 1989, the Czechs and Slovaks negotiated the terms of a new relationship to succeed the centralized federation created under communism. After failing to agree to the terms of a new union, the parties agreed on an orderly breakup.
In the background of the narrative loom general issues such as: What are the sources of ethnic conflict and what is the impact of nationalism? Why do ethnic groups choose secession and what makes for peaceful rather than violent separation? What factors influence the course of postcommunist constitutional negotiations, which are inevitably conducted in the context of institutional and societal transformation? The author explores these issues and the reasons for the breakup.
Eric Stein, a well-known scholar of comparative law and a native of Czechoslovakia, was invited by the Czechoslovak government to assist in the drafting of a new constitution. This book is based on his experiences during years of work on these negotiations as well as extensive interviews with political figures, journalists, and academics and extensive research in the primary documents. It will appeal to historians, lawyers, and social scientists interested in the process of transformation in Eastern Europe and the study of ethnic conflict, as well as the general reader interested in modern European history.
Eric Stein is Hessel E. Yntema Professor Emeritus, University of Michigan Law School. He previously served with the United States Department of State in the Legal Advisor's Office. He is the author of many books and articles on comparative law and the law of the European Community.
The Death of Mr. Baltisberger
Bohumil Hrabal Northwestern University Press, 2010 Library of Congress PG5039.18.R2A8813 2010 | Dewey Decimal 891.8635
Originally published as The Death of Mr. Baltisberger, the fourteen stories in Romance showcase the breadth of Bohumil Hrabal’s considerable gifts: his humor of the grotesque, his often surprising warmth, and his hard-edged, fast-paced style. In the story "Romance," a plumber’s apprentice and a gypsy girl reach toward a tentative connection across the chasm that separates their worlds. Another unlikely love story, "World Cafeteria," features a romance between a young man whose girlfriend has just committed suicide and a bride whose husband lands in jail on their wedding night.
The tone turns to the absurd in "The Death of Mr. Baltisberger," where a crippled ex-motorcyclist and three people he meets at the track exchange wildly improbably reminiscences, while a fatal Grand Prix motorcycle race rages around them. Hrabal’s psychological insight into quotidian interactions saturates stories such as "A Dull Afternoon," where a mysterious, self-absorbed stranger disrupts the psychic calm of a neighborhood tavern and becomes the silent catalyst for an unwanted truth.
Throughout the collection, noted translator Michael Henry Heim captures the quirky speech patterns and idiosyncratic takes on life that have made Hrabal’s characters an indispensable part of world literature.
In this book, Czech lawyer and scholar Jakub Drápal tells the story of the life of Kamill Resler, an attorney who defended the most prominent Nazi tried in postwar Czechoslovakia: Karl Hermann Frank, who would go on to be executed for his role in organizing the massacres of the Czech villages Lidice and Ležáky in 1942. Celebrating Resler’s lifelong commitment to justice—to honoring even the most nefarious criminals’ right to a defense—Drápal highlights events that influenced Resler’s outlook and legal career, important cases that preceded Frank’s trial, Resler’s subsequent defenses of other Nazi criminals, and the final years of Resler’s life under the communist regime.
The Devil's Wall
Mark Cornwall Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress DB2500.S94C67 2012 | Dewey Decimal 943.71
Heinz Rutha, pioneer of a youth movement that emphasized male bonding in its quest to reassert German dominance over Czechoslovakia, was arrested in 1937 for corrupting male adolescents. This led to an international scandal. Cornwall’s biography is the first to tackle the long-taboo intersection of youth, homosexuality, and fascist nationalism.
When Czechoslovakia became independent in 1918, Czechs embraced democracy, which they saw as particularly suited to their national interests. Politicians enthusiastically supported a constitution that proclaimed all citizens, women as well as men, legally equal. But they soon found themselves split over how to implement this pledge. Some believed democracy required extensive egalitarian legislation. Others contended that any commitment to equality had to bow before other social interests, such as preserving the traditional family.
On the eve of World War II, Czech leaders jettisoned the young republic for an “authoritarian democracy” that firmly placed their nation, and not the individual citizen, at the center of politics. In 1948, they turned to a Communist-led “people's democracy,” which also devalued individual rights.
By examining specific policy issues, including marriage and family law, civil service regulations, citizenship law, and abortion statutes, Elusive Equality demonstrates the relationship between Czechs' ideas about gender roles and their attitudes toward democracy. Gradually, many Czechs became convinced that protecting a traditionally gendered family ideal was more important to their national survival than adhering to constitutionally prescribed standards of equal citizenship. Through extensive original research, Melissa Feinberg assembles a compelling account of how early Czech progress in women's rights, tied to democratic reforms, eventually lost momentum in the face of political transformations and the separation of state and domestic issues. Moreover, Feinberg presents a prism through which our understanding of twentieth-century democracy is deepened, and a cautionary tale for all those who want to make democratic governments work.
Embedded Politics offers a unique framework for analyzing the impact of past industrial networks on the way postcommunist societies build new institutions to govern the restructuring of their economies. Drawing on a detailed analysis of communist Czechoslovakia and contemporary Czech industries and banks, Gerald A. McDermott argues that restructuring is best advanced through the creation of deliberative or participatory forms of governance that encourages public and private actors to share information and take risks. Further, he contends that institutional and organizational changes are intertwined and that experimental processes are shaped by how governments delegate power to local public and private actors and monitor them.
Using comparative case analysis of several manufacturing sectors, Embedded Politics accounts for change and continuity in the formation of new economic governance institutions in the Czech Republic. It analytically links the macropolitics of state policy with the micropolitics of industrial restructuring. Thus the book advances an alternative approach for the comparative study of institutional change and industrial adjustment.
As a historical and contemporary analysis of Czech firms and public institutions, this book will command the attention of students of postcommunist reforms, privatization, and political-economic transitions in general. But also given its interdisciplinary approach and detailed empirical analysis of policy-making and firm behavior, Embedded Politics is a must read for scholars of politics, economics, sociology, political economy, business organization, and public policy.
Gerald A. McDermott is Assistant Professor of Management in The Wharton School of Management at The University of Pennsylvania. His research applies recent advances in comparative political economy and industrial organization, including theories of social networks, historical institutionalism, and incomplete markets to analyze issues of economic governance, firm creation, and industrial restructuring in advanced and newly industrialized countries. As evidenced by Embedded Politics, his current focus is on problems of institutional and organizational learning in the formation of meso-level governance institutions in emerging market and postsocialist economies.
McDermott also works as Senior Research Fellow at the IAE Escuela de Direccion y Negocios at Universidad Austral in Buenos Aires, and he has served as Project Coordinator at the Inter-American Development Bank. He has consulted for the Finance, Private Sector, and Infrastructure Division at the World Bank and advised the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic. In addition he has published many papers and book chapters on entrepreneurship, privatization, institutions, and networks in Central Europe and Latin America.
During World War II, London experienced not just the Blitz and the arrival of continental refugees, but also an influx of displaced foreign governments. Drawing together renowned historians from nine countries—the United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Poland, the former Yugoslavia, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia—this book explores life in exile as experienced by the governments of Czechoslovakia and other occupied nations who found refuge in the British capital. Through new archival research and fresh historical interpretations, chapters delve into common characteristics and differences in the origin and structure of the individual governments-in-exile in an attempt to explain how they dealt with pressing social and economic problems at home while abroad; how they were able to influence crucial Allied diplomatic negotiations; the relative importance of armies, strategic commodities, and equipment that particular governments-in-exile were able to offer to the allied war effort; important wartime propaganda; and early preparations for addressing postwar minority issues.
Historians have long claimed Czechoslovakia between the world wars as an island of democracy in a sea of dictatorships. The reasons for the survival of democratic institutions in the Czechoslovak First Republic, with its profound divisions, have never been fully explained, partly because for years critical research was thwarted by the communist state. Drawing on information from European archives, Miller pieces together the story of the party and its longtime leader, Antonín Svehla- the "Master of Compromise," who had an extraordinary capacity to mediate between political parties, factions, and individual political leaders. Miller shows how Svehla's official and behind-the-scenes activities in the parliament provided the new state with stability and continuity.
Good-bye, Samizdat offers the first collection of the best of Czechoslovakia's samizdat, underground texts from the era 1948 through 1990. Divided into three sections, the volume includes fiction, cultural and political works, and philosophical essays. The writings reflect the thought of some of Czechoslovakia's best-known minds--Klima, Vaculik, and Havel--as well as others yet unknown in the West. Taken together, they capture the artistic and intellectual mood of a country situated at a focal point between East and West at a fascinating point in history.
The Iron Curtain did not exist—at least not as we usually imagine it. Rather than a stark, unbroken line dividing East and West in Cold War Europe, the Iron Curtain was instead made up of distinct landscapes, many in the grip of divergent historical and cultural forces for decades, if not centuries. This book traces a genealogy of one such landscape—the woods between Czechoslovakia and West Germany—to debunk our misconceptions about the iconic partition.
Yuliya Komska transports readers to the western edge of the Bohemian Forest, one of Europe’s oldest borderlands, where in the 1950s civilians set out to shape the so-called prayer wall. A chain of new and repurposed pilgrimage sites, lookout towers, and monuments, the prayer wall placed two long-standing German obsessions, forest and border, at the heart of the century’s most protracted conflict. Komska illustrates how civilians used the prayer wall to engage with and contribute to the new political and religious landscape. In the process, she relates West Germany’s quiet sylvan periphery to the tragic pitch prevalent along the Iron Curtain’s better-known segments.
Steeped in archival research and rooted in nuanced interpretations of wide-ranging cultural artifacts, from vandalized religious images and tourist snapshots to poems and travelogues, The Icon Curtain pushes disciplinary boundaries and opens new perspectives on the study of borders and the Cold War alike.
Eastern European prefabricated housing blocks are often vilified as the visible manifestations of everything that was wrong with state socialism. For many inside and outside the region, the uniformity of these buildings became symbols of the dullness and drudgery of everyday life. Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity complicates this common perception. Analyzing the cultural, intellectual, and professional debates surrounding the construction of mass housing in early postwar Czechoslovakia, Zarecor shows that these housing blocks served an essential function in the planned economy and reflected an interwar aesthetic, derived from constructivism and functionalism, that carried forward into the 1950s.
With a focus on prefabricated and standardized housing built from 1945 to 1960, Zarecor offers broad and innovative insights into the country’s transition from capitalism to state socialism. She demonstrates that during this shift, architects and engineers consistently strove to meet the needs of Czechs and Slovaks despite challenging economic conditions, a lack of material resources, and manufacturing and technological limitations. In the process, architects were asked to put aside their individual creative aspirations and transform themselves into technicians and industrial producers. Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity is the first comprehensive history of architectural practice and the emergence of prefabricated housing in the Eastern Bloc. Through discussions of individual architects and projects, as well as building typologies, professional associations, and institutional organization, it opens a rare window into the cultural and economic life of Eastern Europe during the early postwar period.
Across the whole of modern Czech history—from 1918, through World War II, and into the postwar years—ethnic and minority issues have been of the utmost prominence. Moreover, Czechoslovakia has in the past been held up as a model for solving problems related to ethnic and minority tensions through legal regulations—regulations that played a key role in delineating minority status. Primarily intended for an international, non-Czech audience, this book takes a long-term perspective on issues related to ethnic and language minorities in Czechoslovakia. Bridging legal and historical disciplines, Jan Kuklík and René Petráš show that as ethnic minority issues once again come to the forefront of policy debates in Europe and beyond, a detailed knowledge of earlier Czech difficulties and solutions may help us to understand and remedy contemporary problems.
A keen observer of culture, Czech writer Vladimír Macura (1945–99) devoted a lifetime to illuminating the myths that defined his nation. The Mystifications of a Nation, the first book-length translation of Macura’s work in English, offers essays deftly analyzing a variety of cultural phenomena that originate, Macura argues, in the “big bang” of the nineteenth-century Czech National Revival, with its celebration of a uniquely Czech identity.
In reflections on two centuries of Czech history, he ponders the symbolism in daily life. Bridges, for example—once a force of civilization connecting diverse peoples—became a sign of destruction in World War I. Turning to the Soviet and post-Soviet eras, Macura probes a range of richly symbolic practices, from the naming of the Prague metro system, to the mass gymnastic displays of the Communist period, to post–Velvet Revolution preoccupations with the national anthem. In “The Potato Bug,” he muses on one of the stranger moments in the Cold War—the claim that the United States was deliberately dropping insects from airplanes to wreak havoc on the crops of Czechoslovakia.
While attending to the distinctively Czech elements of such phenomena, Macura reveals the larger patterns of Soviet-brand socialism. “We were its cocreators,” he declares, “and its analysis touches us as a scalpel turned on its own body.” Writing with erudition, irony, and wit, Macura turns the scalpel on the authoritarian state around him, demythologizing its mythology.
A surprising look at the causes of the dissolution of Czechoslovakia.
How is it that Czechoslovakia's separation into two countries in 1993 was accomplished so peacefully--especially when compared with the experiences of its neighbors Russia and Yugoslavia? This book provides a sociological answer to this question--and an empirical explanation for the breakup of Czechoslovakia--by tracing the political processes begun in the Prague Spring of 1968.
Gil Eyal's main argument is that Czechoslovakia's breakup was caused by a struggle between two factions of what sociologists call "the new class," which consisted primarily of intellectuals and technocrats. Focusing on the process of polarization that created these two factions--and two distinct political elites--Eyal shows how in response to the events of the ill-fated Prague Spring Czech and Slovak members of the new class embarked on divergent paths and developed radically different, even opposed, identities, worldviews, and interests. Unlike most accounts of postcommunist nationalist conflict, this book suggests that what bound together each of these factions-and what differentiated each from the other--were not national identities and nationalist sentiments per se, but their distinctive visions of the social role of intellectuals.
Gil Eyal is associate professor of sociology at Columbia University.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the countries of East-Central Europe embarked on a journey to transform themselves into democratic capitalist societies. Their governments searched for strategies that would allow them to pursue radical market reforms within the context of nascent democratic politics. Poland adopted a neoliberal strategy that attempted to push through as much reform as possible before an antireform backlash could occur. In the Czech Republic, a social liberal strategy for transformation attempted to combine neoliberal macro-economic policies with social democratic measures designed to avert such a backlash.
A detailed analysis of Poland and the Czech Republic suggests that alternation between strategies has been the secret to the success of East-Central European countries.
This comparative case analysis identifies the significance of reform mistakes during transition and the corrective benefits of policy alternation, its claims illustrated with an in-depth study of privatization policy in the two countries.
Mitchell A. Orenstein delves into the historic struggle to build capitalism and democracy during a decade of post- communist transition in East-Central Europe and develops a model that explains why democratic policy alternation may accelerate policy learning under conditions of uncertainty and constraint.
Out of the Red is accessible to a general audience and as such is suitable for both graduate and undergraduate courses on political economy. It will be of particular interest to economists, political scientists, sociologists, students of postcommunism, and anyone interested in the relations between capitalism and democracy in the contemporary world.
Mitchell A. Orenstein is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Syracuse University.
A critical study of the philosophy and political practice of the Czech dissident movement Charter 77. Aviezer Tucker examines how the political philosophy of Jan Patocka (1907–1977), founder of Charter 77, influenced the thinking and political leadership of Vaclav Havel as dissident and president.
Presents the first serious treatment of Havel as philosopher and Patocka as a political thinker. Through the Charter 77 dissident movement in Czechoslovakia, opponents of communism based their civil struggle for human rights on philosophic foundations, and members of the Charter 77 later led the Velvet Revolution. After Patocka’s self-sacrifice in 1977, Vaclav Havel emerged a strong philosophical and political force, and he continued to apply Patocka’s philosophy in order to understand the human condition under late communism and the meaning of dissidence. However, the political/philosophical orientation of the Charter 77 movement failed to provide President Havel with an adequate basis for comprehending and responding to the extraordinary political and economic problems of the postcommunist period.
In his discussion of Havel's presidency and the eventual corruption of the Velvet Revolution, Tucker demonstrates that the weaknesses in Charter 77 member's understanding of modernity, which did not matter while they were dissidents, seriously harmed their ability to function in a modern democratic system. Within this context, Tucker also examines Havel’s recent attempt to topple the democratic but corrupt government in 1997–1998. The Philosophy and Politics of Czech Dissidence from Patocka to Havel will be of interest to students of philosophy and politics, scholars and students of Slavic studies, and historians, as well as anyone fascinated by the nature of dissidence.
Unlike autonomous professionals in Western industrialized democracies, professionals in a socialist, bureaucratic setting operate as employees of the state. The change in environment has important Implications not only for the practice of professions but also for the concept of professionalism itself. This collection of nine essays is the first to survey the major professions In the USSR, Czechoslovakia, and Poland. The contributors investigate the implications of professional experience in a socialist economy as well as relating changes in professional organization and power to reform movements in general and perestroika in particular.
In the series Labor and Social Change, edited by Paula Rayman and Carmen Sirianni.
In the repressive context of East European Communist regimes, how did young girls and boys come to realize their sexuality? What did they do with that self-awareness—and later on, as adults, what strategies did they employ in their dealings with the regime? Queer Encounters with Communist Power answers these questions as it interweaves a groundbreaking queer oral history project with meticulous, original research into the discourse on homosexuality and transsexuality in Czechoslovakia from 1948 to 1989.
Contrary to expectations, the book reveals that despite the Czechoslovak Communist regime’s brutality in many areas of life, the state did not carry out a hateful or seditious campaign against homosexual and non-heterosexual people. Rather, the official state sexology offices functioned from the late 1970s onward as essentially the first gay clubs in socialist Czechoslovakia. Interweaving the memories of non-heterosexual Czech women born between 1929 and 1952, Věra Sokolová’s study both enriches and challenges existing scholarship on lesbian and gay history during this era, promising to radically change the way we view gender, sexuality, and everyday life during East European socialism.
From 1918 to 1968, Czechoslovak auto manufacturing was marked by the growing influence of the American model of mass production and by the Sovietization of Czechoslovak society and industry. In this book, Valentina Fava examines how the stratification of foreign technical and organizational knowledge shaped Czechoslovak car production practices, contributing to the formation of a specific technical and organizational culture. This book studies and raises questions typical of company cases in business history and relative to Škoda corporate structure, performance, production processes, and product quality.
A Stricken Field: A Novel
Martha Gellhorn University of Chicago Press, 2011 Library of Congress PS3513.E46S87 2011 | Dewey Decimal 813.52
Martha Gellhorn was one of the first—and most widely read—female war correspondents of the twentieth century. She is best known for her fearless reporting in Europe before and during WWII and for her brief marriage to Ernest Hemingway, but she was also an acclaimed novelist.
In 1938, before the Munich pact, Gellhorn visited Prague and witnessed its transformation from a proud democracy preparing to battle Hitler to a country occupied by the German army. Born out of this experience, A Stricken Field follows a journalist who returns to Prague after its annexation and finds her efforts to obtain help for the refugees and to convey the shocking state of the country both frustrating and futile. A convincing account of a people under the brutal oppression of the Gestapo, A Stricken Field is Gellhorn’s most powerful work of fiction.
“[A] brave, final novel. Its writing is quick with movement and with sympathy; its people alive with death, if one can put it that way. It leaves one with aching heart and questing mind.”—New York Herald Tribune
“The translation of [Gellhorn’s] personal testimony into the form of a novel has . . . force and point.”—Times Literary Supplement
Worlds of Dissent
Jonathan Bolton Harvard University Press, 2012 Library of Congress DB2228.7.B65 2012 | Dewey Decimal 943.7043
Worlds of Dissent analyzes the myths of Czech resistance popularized by Western journalists and historians, and replaces these heroic victory narratives with a picture of the struggle against state repression as dissidents themselves understood and lived it. Their diaries, letters, and essays convey the texture of dissent in a closed society.