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Item Title:

The Greengrocer and His TV: The Culture of Communism After the 19-Used


Books, Comics, Magazines



Item Condition: Used
Current Time:22 Oct 17 07:21:21
Time & Date displayed is forUnited States - EDT
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Quantity: (2 Available)
Price per item: £14.88 ($19.50)

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Item Specifics - Books ISBN : 9780801476426
Author : Paulina Bren
14.88 16682459 The Greengrocer and His TV: The Culture of Communism After the 196 http://medium.snazal.com/?9780801476426 http://large.snazal.com/?9780801476426 Paulina Bren 9780801476426 9780801476426 Media Books 1
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Title: The Greengrocer and His TV: The Culture of Communism After the 196

Author(s): Paulina Bren
ISBN: 9780801476426
Sku Code: 9780801476426
Media > Books
The Greengrocer and His TV: The Culture of Communism After the 1968 Prague Spring
Paulina Bren has written an engaging, highly informative book on a period characterized by the conscious attempts of a regime to prevent anything from happening. The leaders of post-1968 Czechoslovakia were obsessed by 'normalization': their ambition was to freeze up time, to escape from the past, not to face the future,not to let histoire événementielle (a history of events, like the heroic but naïve attempt of introducing socialism with a human face in 1968) return. Paulina Bren has succeeded in overcoming the impossible: this is a serious but entertaining and readable study of a Kafkaesque rule by dullness, by boredom, the life under gray skies, reflected on the television screen. The Greengrocer and His TV helps in understanding why the extraordinary events of 1989 were so much underdetermined, but the book reminds us that careful historical research succeeds in uncovering under the seemingly uneventful surface the process that might lead to completely surprising outcomes. --István Rév, Central European University, Director of Open Society ArchivesWith its subtle grasp of complexity and contradiction, Paulina Bren's book is a very smart and occasionally tart analysis of Czechoslovakia's late communist culture through the prism of television. Spurning the binaries of repression and dissidence, living in the lie and living in truth, and other mainstays of Cold War-era rhetoric, Bren surveys and brilliantly brings to light the vast gray area that comprised 'normalized' life in the aftermath of the Prague Spring. Based on her pitch-perfect renderings of the TV-serials of the 1970s and 1980s, she argues that normalization entailed the depoliticization of public life and the politicization of the private by offering a 'quiet life' of 'self-realization' in contrast to both the Prague Spring's political hysteria and Western capitalism's rabid consumerism. She also points out that the television serials placed women at the forefront of rebuilding communism after 1968 by entrusting them with key roles as retailers and consumers. Living within the lie thus became not only palatable but even appealing. Written with wit and verve, The Greengrocer and His TV is as much fun to read as it must have been to research. It is one of the very few books on late communism that truly can be described as eye-opening and paradigm-changing; it is sure to be discussed avidly for years to come. --Lewis H. Siegelbaum, Michigan State University, author of Cars for ComradesCommunism survived in Eastern Europe for nearly a generation after Soviet tanks ended the Prague Spring. Few scholars have yet tackled the dynamics of what Václav Havel called 'post-totalitarianism,' with its myriad enticements to conformity. In this engaging, entertaining book, Paulina Bren shows us that the relationship between the communist state and Czechoslovak society was mediated by television. To understand the regime's longevity, therefore, we would really have to sit down in the greengrocer's living room and watch what his family is watching. And now we can. --Padraic Kenney, Indiana University Paulina Bren has written an innovative, fascinating, and readable book that both cultural and political historians should read. In The Greengrocer and His TV, she refuses to stop at the screen or even just to peer beyond it. Her arguments are supported by a rich documentary base drawing from Communist Party records, state and television archives, and contemporary samizdat, as well as memoir literature. --Benjamin Frommer, Northwestern University

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