Velvet Revolutions: An Oral History of Czech Society
The Velvet Revolution in November 1989 brought about the collapse of the authoritarian communist regime in what was then Czechoslovakia, marking the beginning of the country's journey towards democracy. Though members of the elite have spoken about the transition to democracy, the experiences of ordinary people have largely gone untold.
In Velvet Revolutions, Miroslav Vanek and Pavel Mücke examine the values of everyday citizens who lived under so-called real socialism, as well as how their values changed after the 1989 collapse. Based on 300 interviews, Vanek and Mücke give voice to everyone from farmers to managers, service workers to marketing personnel, manual laborers to members of the armed forces. Compelling and diverse, the oral histories touch upon the experience - and absence - of freedom, the value of family and friends, the experience of free time, and perceptions of foreign nations. Data from opinion polls conducted between 1970 and 2013 factor into the book's analysis, creating a well-rounded view of the ways in which popular thoughts, trends, and attitudes changed as Czech society transitioned from communism to democracy.
From this rich foundation, Velvet Revolutions builds a multi-layered view of Czech history before 1989 and during the subsequent period of democratic transformation.