My Crazy Century

My Crazy Century

Book - 2013
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Baker & Taylor
The author traces his life under Nazism and Communism, describing his imprisonment in the Terezin concentration camp, the revolt of young writers against socialist realism, and his awareness-raising travels through free regions of Europe.

Perseus Publishing
"Klíma has endured as a writer, endured as a human being, writing of the great themes of freedom, honesty and love and politics, and gazing with an unsparing eye on the lies of Communism and the moral miasma of post-Communist freedom." ?BBC

Ivan Klíma, "a writer of enormous power and originality" (The New York Times Book Review), has penned an intimate autobiography that explores his life under two totalitarian regimes: Nazism and Communism. More than memoir, Klíma explores the ways in which the epoch and its dominating ideologies impacted the lives, character, and morality of his generation.

Klíma’s story begins in the 1930s, in the Terezin concentration camp outside of Prague where he was forced to spend almost four years of his childhood. He reveals how the post-war atmosphere supported and encouraged the spread of communist principles over the next few decades and how an informal movement to change the system developed inside the Party. These political events form the backdrop to Klíma’s experiences with the arrest and trial of his father, the early revolt of young writers against socialist realism, his first literary successes, and his travels to the free part of Europe, which strengthened his awareness of living in the midst of a colossal lie.

Klíma also captures the brief period of liberation during the Prague Spring of 1968, in which he played an active role, the Soviet invasion that crushed the political reforms, and the rise of the dissident movement up until the collapse of the communist regime in the midst of the Velvet Revolution of November, 1989.

Including insightful essays on topics related to social history, political thinking, love and freedom, My Crazy Century provides a profoundly rich and moving personal history of national evolution. Ivan Klíma’s first autobiography and perhaps his most significant work, it encapsulates a remarkable life from the vantage point of one lived under occupation.

"Klíma engagingly portrays the complex path of his own thinking and his and his family’s fate." ?Czech Literature

In his intimate autobiography, spanning six decades that included war, totalitarianism, censorship, and the fight for democracy, acclaimed Czech writer Ivan Klíma reflects back on his remarkable life and this critical period of twentieth-century history.

Klíma’s story begins in the 1930s on the outskirts of Prague where he grew up unaware of his concealed Jewish heritage. It came as a surprise when his family was transported to the Terezín concentration camp?and an even greater surprise when most of them survived. They returned home to a city in economic turmoil and falling into the grip of Communism. Against this tumultuous backdrop, Klíma discovered his love of literature and matured as a writer. But as the regime further encroached on daily life, arresting his father and censoring his work, Klíma recognized the party for what it was: a deplorable, colossal lie. The true nature of oppression became clear to him and many of his peers, among them Josef Škvorecký, Milan Kundera, and Václav Havel. From the brief hope of freedom during the Prague Spring of 1968 to Charter 77 and the eventual collapse of the regime in 1989’s Velvet Revolution, Klíma’s revelatory account provides a profoundly rich personal and national history.

& Taylor

The award-winning author of Waiting for the Dark traces his life under the totalitarian regimes of Nazism and Communism, describing his four-year imprisonment in the Terezin concentration camp, the revolt of young writers against socialist realism and his awareness-raising travels through free regions of Europe.

Publisher: New York : Grove Press, 2013
ISBN: 9780802121707
Characteristics: 534 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Cravens, Craig Stephen 1965-- Translator


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