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Winner of the Europe Book Prize
One of Europes most preeminent investigative journalists travels to the Czech Republicthe Czech half of the former Czechoslovakia, the land that brought us Kafkato explore the surreal fictions and the extraordinary reality of its twentieth century.
For example, theres the story of the small businessman who adopted Henry Fords ideas on productivity to create the worlds largest shoe companyand hired modernist giants such as Le Corbusier to design his company towns (which were also the birthplaces of Ivana Trump and Tom Stoppard).
Or the story of Kafkas niece, who loaned her name to writers blacklisted under the Communist regime so they could keep publishing.
Or the story of the singer Karel Gott, winner of the countrys Best Male Vocalist Award thirty-six years in a row, whose summer home, Gottland, is the Czech Dollywood.
Based on meticulous research and hundreds of interviews with everyone from filmmakers to writers to pop stars to ordinary citizens, Gottland is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a resilient people living through difficult and often bizarre timesequally funny, disturbing, stirring and absurd... in a word, Kafkaesque.