Cover of Jessica Kendall Hankiewicz: Czech Lessons

Jessica Kendall Hankiewicz Czech Lessons

Reflections on a Post-Communist Society

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U Lužického semináře 10, Malá Strana

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Jonathan Livingston

Czech Republic









What is it like to move to a formerly communist, Eastern Bloc country just as it is coming to know the West? How much can a new and free generation teach an outsider who is willing to watch, to listen, and to integrate? Written from the perspective of an American emigrant settling in the Czech Republic not long after the fall of communism, Czech Lessons tracks the metamorphosis of both the Czech people and their new republic over the past two decades, capturing a unique period in this humble Central European country’s development. Alternating between history, humor, politics, and memoir, Jessica Kendall Hankiewicz’s book of essays delves into the intangible qualities that make up both a nation and a nationality, bringing daily Czech life and culture sharply into focus. From the benefits of a social democracy to the national obsession with nature, Czech Lessons not only magnifies this small country for the world to see, but also offers up a mirror for the Czech people themselves.

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Monica Lewis: There are many reasons to read this book — the delightful narration and the vignettes of daily life in a country you might not know very much about. But, most compelling is the author’s cross-cultural perspective on problems that plague the U.S. This book renewed my faith in people and made me hopeful: a country’s customs and values can change. Preserve positive traditions. Let go of what no longer serves the common good.

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