The Prague Spring

The Prague Spring

SOCIALISM, by Zdenek Mlynar. New York: Karz.
300 pp. $16.95.

The Prague Spring of 1968 remains one of the traumatic experiences of the left. It revealed both the tensions at work beneath the surface of the Soviet-dominated world and the Russians’ determination to maintain their control regardless of cost.

Zdenek Mlynar, one of the most prominent participants, wrote a post-mortem on the tragic events immediately after leaving Czechoslovakia in 1977. Nightfrost in Prague, published two years ago in West Germany, is now available to the American reader in a good translation by Paul Wilson. At the time of the events, the then 38-year-old Mlynar was at least a decade younger than most of his co-actors in the drama; as secretary of the Central Committee of the Czech Communist party, and briefly as a member of the Presidium, he belonged to the inner circle of power. Trained five years for high office at the Moscow University Law School, and his mind (and doubts) later sharpened at the Prague Academy of Science, he combines in his reflections the firsthand experience of a participant with a dispassionate analytical approach.