Lead Review

  • Book: Prague: Belonging in the Modern City
  • Location: Prague
  • Author: Chad Bryant

Review Author: Tina Hartas



A worthwhile tome for anyone who wants to get under the skin of this fabulous and historic city. There are several maps as the book opens and in very simple terms it is visually evident how, really, Prague has had a pivotal position in the heart of Europe. German influence was considerable during the Habsburg rule in the eighteenth century and German became the common language of the arts, commerce and industry and the civil service. By the 1840s travellers from the German lands were drawn in increasingly larger numbers to the city.

The city moves through revolutions, revolts, wars and regimes of varying political colours, all the while blending the history and the people who have become part of the fabric of the city. The trajectory of the city is expressed in the chapter headings, to wit German City / Czech City / Revolution City / Communist City / Global City and the author guides the readers through each of these periods.

For each of these general periods in the city’s history, Bryant chooses interesting and marginalised characters who have observed and chronicled their city, offering insight for today’s visitor and offering resonance of the footsteps of the past. His final and most recent contributor is Duong Nguyen. In 2008 nearly 1/100 Prague citizens belonged to the Vietnamese diaspora having found their way through communist channels which had spread from Russia in so many directions.

This is an in depth treatise providing a comprehensive and detailed take on the city over the last couple of centuries, constructed with a unique and original premise.

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