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Some lessons I learned from a book about Czech society (that I didn’t write)

close up shot of Czech Lessons cover

On the twentieth anniversary of her arrival in Prague, Jessica Kendall Hankiewicz published a book titled Czech Lessons: Reflections on a Post-Communist Society (October 2022). In ten essays and three sets of conversations with Czechs, Jessica explores the Czech nation, its culture, its traditions, and its people during a pivotal moment in the new republic’s history. A few weeks ago, I received an unexpected email from Jessica, introducing herself as a fellow Virginian. We’d never met, but she thought I might be interested in Czech Lessons. My curiosity was piqued. What could I learn about my adopted homeland from reading a book written by another emigrant, particularly one whose arrival in the early 2000s closely matched my own?