The Velvet Revolution

Overview

The vivid portratal of the "Velvet Revolution" describes the dramatic social and political changes that heralded the downfall of the Communist leadership in Czechoslavakia. Bernard Wheaton, one of the few Western observers in the country during the nonviolent change of government in November 1989, and Zdenek Kavan, himself a Czech, interweave firsthand description with interviews of student leaders, press accounts, and scholarly analysis of the historical antecedents of the revolution to bring the extraordinary ...

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Overview

The vivid portratal of the "Velvet Revolution" describes the dramatic social and political changes that heralded the downfall of the Communist leadership in Czechoslavakia. Bernard Wheaton, one of the few Western observers in the country during the nonviolent change of government in November 1989, and Zdenek Kavan, himself a Czech, interweave firsthand description with interviews of student leaders, press accounts, and scholarly analysis of the historical antecedents of the revolution to bring the extraordinary events of 1989 to life. The authors also trace the evolution of change in Czechoslovakia, weighing the importance of the May 1990 elections and assessing political and social prospects for the future. The narrative is enriched with political cartoons and photographs.
 
 

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
As Czechoslovakia splits into two independent nations, this analytical study of the transformation from communism to democracy is both timely and instructive. Drawing upon a variety of sources--archival documents, interviews, and press accounts--the authors provide a thorough overview of recent political and social events. The gradual decay of the Communist system from the Brezhnev era on is briefly described and sets the stage for the political crisis of 1988-89, which culminated in ``Black Friday'' and the November Revolution. In the final section, the transition process is examined with special emphasis on the deepening crisis of nationalism. Appended are relevant documents, a long list of political slogans, public opinion surveys, and a biographical sketch of Vaclav Havel. This is essential for all academic libraries.--Thomas A. Karel, Franklin & Marshall Coll. Lib., Lancaster, Pa.
Booknews
The authors interweave firsthand description with interviews of student leaders, press accounts, and scholarly analysis to describe the dramatic social and political changes in Czechoslovakia before, during, and after the "Velvet Revolution" of November 1989. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813312040
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1992
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,336,548
  • Lexile: 1500L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 0.60 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments
A Rough Guide to the Pronunciation of Czech and Slovak
List of Acronyms
Pt. 1 The Long Decay of the Communist System in Czechoslovakia
1 Normalization and Soviet Foreign Policy: Brezhnev to Gorbachev 3
The Features of Normalization 6
Public Compliance 9
Organized Dissent: The Emergence of Charter 77 11
Brezhnev and Beyond 14
2 The Czechoslovak Regime in Crisis: August 1988 to October 1989 23
Growth of Public Criticism 24
Economic Difficulties 30
Changes in Eastern Europe 30
Pt. 2 The November Revolution
3 Black Friday 39
The March Begins 41
Empty Hands - and Violence 44
The Staging of the Attack 47
4 The Toppling of the Stalinists 49
The Growing Cast 52
The Role of the SUY 58
The Party and the People Respond 61
5 The Collapse of the Old Regime 83
The Letna Demonstration 88
Stepan's Removal 92
Winning the Public Over 94
The Presidential Election 108
6 Reflections on the Revolution 113
The Possibility of Conspiracy 113
Historical Precedents 115
Pt. 3 The Foundations of the Post-Communist State
7 The Establishment of Democratic Structures: January to June 1990 127
The Political Sphere 130
The Economic Sphere 139
The Social Sphere 143
Europe and the International Sphere 147
The Elections 149
8 The Process of Transition: June 1990 to March 1991 153
The Economy: Monetarism Versus Keynesianism 154
CF: The Shift to the Right 164
Federalism Versus Separatism 168
The Status of Women and the List of Rights 172
Czechoslovakia and the World 173
9 Postscript: March 1991 to January 1992 175
The Ongoing Crisis of Nationalism 177
Making a Clean Break: Purges 179
Unsettled Economy, Uncertain Future 182
Appendix A: The Voice of the Street - Slogans of the Revolution 187
Appendix B: Documents of the Revolution 195
Appendix C: Public Opinion During the Revolution 219
Appendix D: Vaclav Havel - A Biographical Cameo 223
Notes 225
Selected Bibliography 235
About the Book and Authors 239
Index 241
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