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Prague Winter Audiobook

Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948

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Publisher's Summary

Before Madeleine Albright turned twelve, her life was shaken by the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia - the country where she was born - the Battle of Britain, the near total destruction of European Jewry, the Allied victory in World War II, the rise of communism, and the onset of the Cold War.

Albright's experiences, and those of her family, provide a lens through which to view the most tumultuous dozen years in modern history. Drawing on her memory, her parents' written reflections, interviews with contemporaries, and newly available documents, Albright recounts a tale that is by turns harrowing and inspiring. Prague Winter is an exploration of the past with timeless dilemmas in mind and, simultaneously, a journey with universal lessons that is intensely personal.

The book takes readers from the Bohemian capital's thousand-year-old castle to the bomb shelters of London, from the desolate prison ghetto of TerezÍn to the highest councils of European and American government. Albright reflects on her discovery of her family's Jewish heritage many decades after the war, on her Czech homeland's tangled history, and on the stark moral choices faced by her parents and their generation. Often relying on eyewitness descriptions, she tells the story of how millions of ordinary citizens were ripped from familiar surroundings and forced into new roles as exiled leaders and freedom fighters, resistance organizers and collaborators, victims and killers. These events of enormous complexity are nevertheless shaped by concepts familiar to any growing child: fear, trust, adaptation, the search for identity, the pressure to conform, the quest for independence, and the difference between right and wrong.

"No one who lived through the years of 1937 to 1948," Albright writes, "was a stranger to profound sadness. Millions of innocents did not survive, and their deaths must never be forgotten. Today we lack the power to reclaim lost lives, but we have a duty to learn all that we can about what happened and why." At once a deeply personal memoir and an incisive work of history, Prague Winter serves as a guide to the future through the lessons of the past - as seen through the eyes of one of the international community's most respected and fascinating figures.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2012 Madeleine Albright (P)2012 HarperCollinsPublishers

What the Critics Say

“A remarkable story of adventure and passion, tragedy and courage set against the backdrop of occupied Czechoslovakia and World War II. Albright provides fresh insights into the events that shaped her career and challenges us to think deeply about the moral dilemmas that arise in our own lives.” (Vaclav Havel)

“I was totally blown away by this book. It is a breathtaking combination of the historical and the personal. Albright confronts the brutal realities of the Holocaust and the conflicted moral choices it led to. An unforgettable tale of fascism and communism, courage and realism, families and heartache and love. (Walter Isaacson)

“A genuinely admirable book. Albright skillfully returns us to some of the darkest years of modern times. Spring eventually came to Prague, but in much of the world it is still winter. The love of democracy fills every one of these instructive and stirring pages.” (Leon Wieseltier)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (177 )
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3.8 (146 )
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Performance
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  •  
    martha 07-26-15
    martha 07-26-15 Member Since 2009
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    "The hard won freedom of the Czech people"

    I enjoyed Prague Winter very much. Madeleine Albright has an altogether unique perspective on the history of Czechoslovakia from WWII as a child emigre of an activist father and later an accomplished scholar and elite diplomat. Her family history gave names and faces to victims of the Holocaust. I have recommended the book to people who have an interest in WWII history especially highlighting the Czech dimension. The book helped me form a new understanding of the brave Czech people who suffered under the Nazis then the Communists and now display a love for freedom like no one else

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susan 07-30-13
    Susan 07-30-13
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    "Admiration for author, not the production"
    What disappointed you about Prague Winter?

    Regret to say: monotone of author


    Has Prague Winter turned you off from other books in this genre?

    Few new insights into life and career of author


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Madeleine Albright?

    Until this title, I've been pleased with all narrators


    What character would you cut from Prague Winter?

    No need to cut characters; more depth needed


    Any additional comments?

    Madeleine Albright has my admiration for her life, her service to the public good and her fellowman; the book's production (including sound quality) did not do justice to the career of this remarkable leader.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    maida smith Sandy Ut 11-04-12
    maida smith Sandy Ut 11-04-12 Member Since 2016

    Maida

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    "Great HIstory- Great Writing"
    Where does Prague Winter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is one that I would listen to again because there is so much history of what was happening in the "world of others" when I was just a child.


    What other book might you compare Prague Winter to and why?

    Wild Swans, Mao


    Would you listen to another book narrated by Madeleine Albright?

    yes but she is not my favorite narrator. I have good experience with her in my adult life so I knew what the voice and inflections would be.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was surprised at how little I had learned in my life about that time in Europe, Especially Chekhovslavia and how difficult that word is to say. I can see why many now have the option to say Chek Republic.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Grace 08-27-12
    Grace 08-27-12
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    "Comprehensive, Personal Acccount"

    Delighted to discover Secretary Albright narrated the book she authored. Interesting, detailed account of the period, the politics, that part of Europe. Her personal experiences, observations, connections added a richness that provided a nice break from facts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian Catlett, VA, United States 07-10-12
    Brian Catlett, VA, United States 07-10-12

    What's there not to love? :-) I love the feel, smell and experience of a good book but nowadays who has the time?

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    "Prague Winter - Heart and History"
    Would you listen to Prague Winter again? Why?

    This was my first "read" of Ms. Albright and though concerned I'd be bored to tears with useless fact and monotone drone, I was happy that my fear was unwarranted. Her voice, description, and timber drew me in to the book and I felt like I was right there experiencing both her life growing up during WWII but I also learned so much more about the Country and Land of my ancestry.


    What other book might you compare Prague Winter to and why?

    I'm tempted to compare this to a book by President Clinton but I fear that would be cliche. I would definately compare this to "In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin" by Erik Larson who captured a turbulent time so vivedly and movingly.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    She she spoke of and read from her fathers notes and unfinished manuscript for a book of fiction about the war.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joy MIDLAND, TX, United States 07-09-12
    Joy MIDLAND, TX, United States 07-09-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Praque Winter"
    Would you listen to Prague Winter again? Why?

    In particular I would like to listen to Praque Winter again to here Madeleine Albright set up the Chekoslavakian position in Europe at the beginning of WWII and England's role in the downfall of the Eastern European countries. I found the politics and attempts at mingling the cultures very interesting.


    What does Madeleine Albright bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    I loved listening to Madeleine Albright read her story. She has had an incredible life of influence in the USA. It was nice to hear the "back story".


    Any additional comments?

    I loved the historical perspective that Mrs. Albright brings to WWII.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sandra 06-23-12
    Sandra 06-23-12
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    "Very timely."
    Where does Prague Winter rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is one that will be recommended and reread. It ranks among my favorites.
    Albright weaves the story of her early life and that of her family with events of the war years. The historical portion illuminates a part of history with which I've been only vaguely familiar with descriptions that are well-researched and presented clearly and in a balanced manner. The narrative is compelling and the message is timely.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lois 06-04-12
    Lois 06-04-12 Member Since 2015
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    "World War 11 Experience"

    i was rather disappointed in Madelaine's book, as I was expecting a more personal account of the experiences of her family as Jews in a hostile environment. To a small extent it was there, but the book concentrated on the politics of the war, the reasons for the decisions made by politicians for entering the war, and why the Czech Republic chose to align with Russia after hostilities ceased.


    Madeleine was a small child at the outbreak of the war. Her parents had converted to Catholicism long before the war, but there was still potential danger for them if they remained in Czechoslovakia. Her father got a post as a journalist, and the family spent the war years in London. Madeleine received her early education in Britain, and she describes the officials that she met, and the political responsibilities that eventually fell on her her father.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KQK Milton, MA, United States 06-04-12
    KQK Milton, MA, United States 06-04-12 Member Since 2015
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    "Read by the author"
    If you could sum up Prague Winter in three words, what would they be?

    Smart woman's story.


    What other book might you compare Prague Winter to and why?

    Any historical memoir. Madeline Albright did an amazing job writing about a historical time period, through which she lived, that now she looks back at, to tell us about how she remembers/ed it. The story doesn't "feel" like a true memoir, and isn't a historical "fact" sort of book; just a great blend of the two. I would recommend this book to any history buff!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Shuli 05-21-12
    Shuli 05-21-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Dry"
    What disappointed you about Prague Winter?

    I thought there would be a story not just a recap of history.


    Has Prague Winter turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Madeleine Albright?

    Anyone


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    I didn;t finish it.


    1 of 3 people found this review helpful

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