Before she turned twelve, Madeleine Albright's life was shaken by the Nazi invasion of her native Prague, the Battle of Britain, the attempted destruction of European Jewry, the allied victory in World War II, the rise of communism, and the onset of the Cold War. The experiences of a young Albright and 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, she reveals a historical narrative that is by turns harrowing and inspiring. Prague Winter is an exploration of the past and its timeless dilemmas - an intensely personal journey with universal lessons.
The years 1937-1948 witnessed the destruction of one world and its replacement by another as leaders created new institutions to nurture prosperity and keep peace. Albright reflects on the contemporary relevance of the moral choices confronted by statesmen and average citizens in this era, including those affecting members of her own family. Prague Winter takes readers from the Bohemian capital's thousand-year-old castle to the bomb shelters of London, from the Terezin ghetto to the highest councils of European and American government. Often relying on eyewitness descriptions, Albright tells the stories of millions of ordinary citizens ripped from familiar surroundings and forced into new roles as exiles and soldiers, collaborators and resistance leaders, 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, and the difference between right and wrong.
At once a deeply personal memoir and incisive work of historical analysis, 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.