Texas A&M University Press has released a paperback edition of Czech Voices: Stories from Texas in the Amerikán národní kalendá. Originally published in 1991, Czech Voices comprises ten short memoir-essays written by some of the earliest Czech immigrants to Texas. Translated and edited by Clinton Machann and James W. Mendl, Jr., Czech Voices offers a clear window to the lives of Czech immigrants on a difficult frontier.
Each of the ten autobiographical sketches had been published in the Amerikán národní kalendá (a Czech-language magazine in Chicago. (That publication’s founding by a freethinking political group explains the fact that many of the essays it published expressed some negative attitudes toward organized religion.)
Several motifs and themes that run through the collection loom especially large: hardships of the immigrants, religious conflicts, the American Civil War, ethnic identity, farming practices, and attitudes toward the land. Among the writers are important leaders, adventurers, journalists, and typical farmers, chosen for their identity or powers of expression or for the importance of the events they record. Their impressions, attitudes, and emotions bring to life an era that other sources rarely can.
Clinton Machann and James W. Mendl, Jr., who selected and translated these stories, provide an interpretive introduction, informative notes, and a bibliography that help to place the life stories in their historical and cultural context. These narratives had never before been generally available; historians interested in American immigration and ethnicity, as well as the descendants of immigrants, will appreciate both their valuable contribution and the pleasure of reading them.
|Publisher:||Texas A&M University Press|
|Series:||Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University Series , #39|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.50(d)|
About the Author
Machann is an associate professor of English at Texas A&M University, and Mendl, who lives in Pflugerville, teaches in the public schools. They previously collaborated on the book Krasna Amerika: A Study of the Texas Czechs, 1851–1939.