Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coffee Table Book Party: "The Wall"

Heavens, somehow the weeks slip by and suddenly you realize that you haven't done a Coffee Table Book Party post in eight months! Well, that's a situation that's easily enough remedied. Let's get this party moving again!

The Wall; Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain, by Peter Sis

About the time I was born in the summer of 1968, Soviet tanks were rolling into Czechoslovakia to crush the liberalizing movement of the Prague Spring.  A few weeks later, my sister-in-law was born.  In Prague.  She gave me this book for Christmas this year.

It uses simple cartoons and simple language to tell a simple story about how awful and demoralizing life is under totalitarian rule.

A palette of red, black and white represents life under the Soviet thumb.  Hints of free expression and creative thought drifting in from the West are represented as vivid splashes of color.

Color represents the other side of the wall in a great two-page allegorical map.  We don't always think of the late 1960s as a time of justice, integrity, virtue, and honor in the West, but even such things can be relative.  Here's how the world looked, facing westward, to a Czech teen of the era.


mrs.5000 said...

This morning, I ransacked your room and put this on the coffee table!

margaret said...

Cool book. I had no idea he did adult stuff. I know him for an awesome children's book called Trucks, Trucks, Trucks. (If you would like verbatim recitation, just call.)