Friederike Kind-Kovács, Written Here, Published There: How Underground Literature Crossed the Iron Curtain. Budapest and New York: Central European University Press, 2014.

* Winner of the University of South Carolina Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies 2015

Testimonial 1: Friederike's experience with working with me

Written Here, Published There offers a new perspective on the role of underground literature in the Cold War and challenges us to recognize gaps in the Iron Curtain. The book identifies a transnational undertaking that reinforced détente, dialogue, and cultural transfer, and thus counterbalanced the persistent belief in Europe’s irreversible division. It analyzes a cultural practice that attracted extensive attention during the Cold War but has largely been ignored in recent scholarship: tamizdat, or the unauthorized migration of underground literature across the Iron Curtain. Through this cultural practice, this book offers a new reading of Cold War Europe’s history. Investigating the transfer of underground literature from the ‘Other Europe’ to Western Europe, the United States, and back, illuminates the intertwined fabrics of Cold War literary cultures. Perceiving tamizdat as both a literary and a social phenomenon, the book focuses on how individuals participated in this border-crossing activity and used secretive channels to guarantee the free flow of literature.

 

Alfred A. Reisch, Hot Books in the Cold War: The CIA-Funded Secret Western Book Distribution Program Behind the Iron Curtain. Budapest & New York: CEU Press, 2013.

Alfred A. Reisch (1931–2013) was a political scientist, specializing in international relations, diplomatic and Cold War history, foreign, military, national security, and minority affairs. He was Senior Political Analyst with Radio Free Europe in New York and Head of RFE's Hungarian Research and Evaluation Section in Munich, Germany.

This study reveals the hidden story of the secret book distribution program to Eastern Europe financed by the CIA during the Cold War. At its height between 1957 and 1970, the book program was one of the least known but most effective methods of penetrating the iron curtain, reaching thousands of intellectuals and professionals in the Soviet Bloc. Reisch conducted thorough research on the key personalities involved in the book program, especially the two key figures S. S. Walker, who initiated the idea of a "mailing project," and G. C. Minden, who developed it into one of the most effective political and psychological tools of the Cold War.

 

Jana Vobecká, Demographic Avant-Garde: Jews in Bohemia Between the Enlightenment and the Shoah. Budapest & New York: Central European University Press, 2013.


Testimonial 2: Krisztina's experience with working with me

This book studies the unique demographic behavior of Jews in Bohemia (the historic part of the Czech Republic), starting from a moment in history when industrialization in Central Europe was still far away in the future, and when Jews were still living legally restricted lives in ghettos. Very early on, however, from the 18th century onward, Jews developed patterns of decreasing mortality and fertility that was not observed among the gentile majority in Bohemia; patterns which established them as a demographic avant-garde population in all of Europe.

Demographic Avant-Garde elucidates what made Jews in Bohemia true forerunners of the demographic transition and why this occurred when it did. It scrutinizes demographic statistics from the mid-eighteenth to the mid-twentieth century, and examines what made Bohemian Jews’ data distinct from the trends observed in the gentile community and among Jews in other lands. In search for the answers, Vobecká’s analysis touches also upon the cultural, social, political and economic environment.