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Prague in Black and Gold: Scenes from the Life of a European City

3.58  ·  Rating Details ·  141 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Prague is at the core of everything both wonderful and terrible in Western history, but few people truly understand this city's unique culture. In Prague in Black and Gold, Peter Demetz strips away sentimentalities and distortions and shows how Czechs, Germans, Italians, and Jews have lived and worked together for over a thousand years. .
Paperback, 432 pages
Published March 18th 1998 by Hill and Wang (first published July 11th 1997)
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Mike
Jul 19, 2013 Mike rated it really liked it
A very good history of Prague, especially with focus to the various ethnic groups that composed the population of this great city throughout its history; to understand how Prague evolved in terms of polity and culture, this book is essential, though in places dry. There is no doubt the author—a professor of German literature who was born and grew up in Prague—knows his stuff, but in places it can come across as dry while in other instances, the author does assume the reader already knows a wealt ...more
Malcolm
Jul 23, 2011 Malcolm rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-europe
Prague, even with mass tourism, stag parties, and the McDonaldization of Wenceslas Square, remains one of Europe's most marvellous cities. Demetz takes us through parts of its labyrinthine, gorgeous, politically central history. The more I visit, the more the city grows on me and the more Demetz's glorious book comes to life.
Nicky
Oct 14, 2013 Nicky rated it really liked it
Fascinating.

I obtained this book solely to read chapter three on Charles IV and it did not disappoint. It could hardly fail to delight as there is so little written about this remarkable monarch in English and this is one of those volumes.

This is a serious study on the history of Prague and, where helpful, the rest of the country and other relevant places. It is not a tourist manual. Deep and academic it can be heavy going and even with the author's helpful guide to Czech pronunciation the Cze
...more
Brad Rousse
Dec 28, 2014 Brad Rousse rated it really liked it
A detailed and thorough history of Prague from prehistory to the birth of independent Czechoslovakia. Demetz does a masterful job describing the events, places and people that have given rise to the Mother of Cities as we know her today. I read this as part of my preparation to move to Prague earlier this year, and I must say it pre prepared me very well. My two main complaints would be there is, at times, far too much detail and the narrative can get sidetracked. Further, to make the argument t ...more
Aimeé Rodríguez
Sep 08, 2014 Aimeé Rodríguez rated it really liked it
Great historical review/overview of the city. Lobkowicz Palace and other museum visits would compliment the areas that are lacking. I recommend you read this prior to a trip to the city, especially if you want to recreate history.
Riku Sarlin
Sep 29, 2015 Riku Sarlin rated it really liked it
Prahan matkaan valmistautumista... Melko haastava mutta palkitseva opus Prahan historiasta. Eipä ole kovin yksinkertainen historia tälläkään kaupungilla.
Mackay
Mar 22, 2013 Mackay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Since I will visit Prague soon, thought it best to know something of the place. This is an interesting, though densely written, introduction. As the title suggests, it is not a linear nor complete history, but scenes and issues the author find compelling, such as the mythic past, the literary traditions of the medieval era, the question of the Jewish denizens of Prague, and so on. Demetz states in his introduction that he wishes to convey both the bright (gold) and dark (black) of Prague's long ...more
Joe
Apr 15, 2012 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, solid and readable history of Prague from mythical beginnings up to 1938. Largely concentrates on some key eras including Charles IV, the Hussites, Rudolf II, 1849 and Masaryk’s Prague. On a visit it certainly helps to make the city a lot more intelligible.
Nancy Bielski
Nov 30, 2014 Nancy Bielski rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This took me about a year and a half to read. It's very dense, and more of a cultural history than I expected.
Lysergius
Jul 23, 2012 Lysergius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Illuminates the multiple layers of the history of Prague.
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