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Prague Spring

Narrated by: Ralph Lister
Length: 12 hrs and 29 mins
4 out of 5 stars (8 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

New York Times best-selling author Simon Mawer returns to Czechoslovakia, this time during the turbulent 1960s, with a suspenseful story of sex, politics, and betrayal. 

In the summer of 1968, the year of the Prague Spring with a Cold War winter, Oxford students James Borthwick and Eleanor Pike set out to hitchhike across Europe, complicating a budding friendship that could be something more. Having reached Southern Germany, they decide on a whim to visit Czechoslovakia, where Alexander Dubcek's "socialism with a human face" is smiling on the world.

Meanwhile, Sam Wareham, first secretary at the British embassy in Prague, observes developments in the country with a diplomat's cynicism and a young man's passion. In the company of Czech student Lenka Koneckova, he finds a way into the world of Czechoslovak youth, with all its hopes and new ideas; now, nothing seems off-limits behind the Iron Curtain. But the great wheels of politics are grinding in the background; Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev is making demands of Dubcek, and the Red Army is massing on the borders.

This shrewd, engrossing, and sensual novel once again proves Simon Mawer is one of today's most talented writers of historical spy fiction.

©2018 Simon Mawer (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brought up memories of my misspent youth!

Set in the tumultuous year of 1968 when everything seemed to be changing, from the hippies in San Francisco to the Russian invasion of Czechoslovakia. Simon Mawer is very good at this kind of historical fiction. Unfortunately, his book was ill served by the narrator who made the fake accents of non-English speakers sound very strange indeed.

It captures the era perfectly. Particularly the language of the young people. I have to say it may me wince to remember how quick we were to use the label “bourgeois” for anything we disapproved of. His description of their experiences hitchhiking across Europe felt very authentic, as well as the way in which they ended up in Czechoslovakia. It sounds absurd to me now, but flipping a coin to decide which direction you go in was the kind of thing that made a lot of sense at that time.

I managed to get past the difficulties with the narrator, but, in retrospect, I wish I had read it in paper, because I had to keep suppressing my annoyance at his rendition of the German and check accents.

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  • SE
  • Sacramento, CA
  • 12-05-18

I dug it!

Terrific historical novel. If you’re interested in the Cold War era it will have special appeal to you as it did me. Highly recommended.