Sunday, March 3, 2013

Prague Winter, by Madeleine Albright

Raised as a Catholic, Madeleine Albright was unaware that her family not only had a Jewish background, but also had several family members who perished in the Holocaust.  As an adult, she yearns to discover more about her family members, and their experiences during the war.  Set against the turbulent and complex political landscape of Czechoslovakia, the narrative is both that of a memoir and of a historical overview.

This is not the kind of book you are going to sit down with and breeze right through.  There is so much information delivered in this memoir that you must allow yourself time to digest it.  The book is incredibly well written, and thorough; I am walking away from it with much greater knowledge of Czechoslovakian history, and the country's unique situation during the war.  While I love to read books about World War II, Czechoslovakia is not a country that is usually discussed at much length, despite the location of Theresienstadt.

My only disappointment with this book is that it is more of a history book and less of a memoir.  Even the parts that do contain personal narrative read more like a history book; I wish there was just a little more emotion.  However, the tone of the book is very European in nature, and I think my American romantic sensibilities had a hard time fully understanding that tone.  To a less attuned reader, it may come across as slightly cold for a book marketed as a memoir.  My expectation was that it would contain a bit more personal narrative, so at times the book did seem to drag.  However, that did not detract from the book being excellent.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

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