Architecture Publications

Document Type

Book Review

Publication Version

Accepted Manuscript

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Journal or Book Title

Journal of Social History

Volume

45

Issue

3

First Page

842

Last Page

842

DOI

10.1093/jsh/shr128

Abstract

In this provocative book, Paulina Bren brings to life the “stagnant” decades of “nothingness” (4) that followed the 1968 Prague Spring and the failure of a Communist reform movement in Czechoslovakia. Officially called the period of “normalization,” when life was meant to return to “normal” after the upheaval of the reform period and the resulting invasion of the country by Warsaw Pact troops, scholars have not devoted much attention to topics other than dissidents in the 1970s and 1980s. Bren attributes this gap to the immense challenge of writing a history without notable events or transformative conflicts, although by the end of the book, with its bold rereading of the standard history of the period, this characterization seems less apt. Readers will be struck by how uneventful and dreary everyday life appears in the text. Yet the book's cumulative effect is not to simply interrogate this boredom, but rather to emphasize how much more fraught, complex, and laden with cultural meaning these decades were than previously thought.

Comments

This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Journal of Social History following peer review. The version of record is available online at http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jsh/shr128.

Copyright Owner

The Author

Language

en

File Format

application/pdf

Published Version

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