Reading for the Road:
The Best Books About the Czech Republic

At The Slow Road we answer to many names (wanderers, bon vivants, students of life) but first and foremost, we’re a group of dedicated travellers.

That’s why we love compiling reading lists that include those books—from novels to memoirs, and everything in between—that have really opened up our favourite regions.

In this post we’ll round up a few of our favourite books about the Czech Republic, where golden spires extend from buildings, fairytale castles dot the land and you have to pause to wonder if you’re in fantasy or reality.

Must-Read Books About the Czech Republic

Under a Cruel Star: A Life in Prague

By Heda Margolius Kovaly

Heda Margolius Kovály (1919–2010) endured both the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz and the brutality of Czechoslovakia’s postwar Stalinist government. Her husband, after surviving Dachau and Auschwitz and becoming Czechoslovakia’s deputy minister of foreign trade, was convicted of conspiracy in the infamous 1952 Slansky trial and then executed. Her clear-eyed memoir of her life during those horrific days is resonant with lyricism, managing somehow to be…

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Dreams of a Great Small Nation

By Kevin J McNamara

In 1917, two empires that had dominated much of Europe and Asia teetered on the edge of the abyss, exhausted by the ruinous cost in blood and treasure of the First World War. As Imperial Russia and Habsburg-ruled Austria-Hungary began to succumb, a small group of Czech and Slovak combat veterans stranded in Siberia saw an opportunity to realize their long-held dream of independence.

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Prague in Black and Gold: The History of a City

By Peter Demetz

From the Velvet Revolution to the disturbing world of Franz Kafka, from the devestation of the Thirty Years War to the musical elegance of Mozart and Dvorak, Prague is steeped in a wealth of history and culture. Prague in Black and Gold is a first class history of this unique city, allowing us to unravel…

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Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War

By Madeleine Albright

Drawing on her own memory, her parents’ written reflections, interviews with contemporaries, and newly-available documents, former US Secretary of State and New York Times bestselling author Madeleine Albright recounts a tale that is by turns harrowing and inspiring.

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Gottland: Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia

By Mariusz Szczygiel

Based on meticulous research and hundreds of interviews with everyone from filmmakers to writers to pop stars to ordinary citizens, Gottland is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a resilient people living through difficult and often bizarre times—equally funny, disturbing, stirring and absurd . . . in a word, Kafkaesque.

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