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Located at the heart of Europe between east and west, Czechoslovakia was the pivot of twentieth-century European history. Created in 1918 out of the ruins of an empire, it remained a beacon of democracy in a continent darkened by fascism and communism. But unable to resist the machinations of greater powers, it succumbed to Nazi invasion and partition on the eve of World War II. After that conflict it underwent a communist dictatorship, which was lightened only briefly by the Prague Spring of 1968. Finally, the Czechoslovaks reclaimed liberty and democracy in the Velvet Revolution of 1989. Maria Dowling's history of Czechoslovakia engages with themes of perennial interest--nationalism, democracy, and authoritarian rule--and as well as guiding the reader through the particularly rich and varied experiences of Czechoslovakia, illuminates the nature of government, power, and culture in twentieth-century Europe.
Maria Dowling is Senior Lecturer at St Mary's University College, UK