[Prague]: Historický ústav ČSAV v Praze, 1968. Octavo (20.4 × 15 cm). Original printed black wrappers over blind white wraps; , IV, , 35, 37–54, [1 blank], 55–494 pp, and fifty-six unnumbered pages with photographic reproductions interspersed. Good; wrappers worn and creased; binding shaken but intact.
First edition of this documentation, in text and image, of the 1968 Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, which put a sudden end to the Prague Spring, a period of political and cultural liberalization in the mid-1960s. The arrival of Russian troops on tanks on August 21, 1968 heralded the onset of the so-called Normalization period, presided over by Gustáv Husák, and ended the political and cultural liberalization in the mid to late 1960s. Nearly 150 Czech citizens were killed during the invasion, and many more wounded during protests. The response of the public was one of non-violent, but active resistance: soldiers were misdirected, street signs were removed, food and water were denied the occupants, and anti-Soviet posters and slogans appeared overnight.
This compilation was published semi-legally, and at considerable risk, only a month after the invasion. To defend themselves against repercussions, the publishers used the printed label “Studijní materiál – pouze pro vnitřní potřebu” (“Study materials – only for internal use”). Aside from detailed timelines of the memorable days, eyewitness accounts, newspaper articles, including translations from foreign press, and transcriptions of official Soviet and Czechoslovak documents, the volume contains dozens of photographs taken during the invasion. They show the movement of planes and tanks, the faces of Czech politicians, protests and demonstrations, as well as the posters and handbills circulated in the immediate aftermath, including many anti-Soviet banners and graffiti. The book was distributed in samizdat copies and quickly forwarded abroad: an English version, edited by Robert Littell, was published in 1969 with the title The Czech Black Book.
Book ID: 50841