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Book Review

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This is a rare book. It is full of real people and real life episodes. The author's almost incredible memory for the details of scores of cases and other legal incidents in Czechoslovakia in the 1950's makes this a remarkable contribution to the comparative-law literature. Those who are looking for theoretical controversy will not find it here, for this book is simply a generous slice of life in a communist country, as seen through the eyes of a remarkably perceptive, legally trained viewer. As the author says, it is "neither an indictment nor a glorification" (p. xi). The author is able to put us in the shoes of an average Czech, so that we may see that stupidity is often worse than repression, and poor housing and boredom more severe punishments than a prison term. His writing evidences a keen sense of the dramatic, the pathetic, and the commonplace in life.