We're Czechs
Texana - Multicultural Studies
5.5 x 8.5, 256 pp.
40 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 02/01/1989
Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University
  paper
Price:        $16.95

978-0-89096-413-2

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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1989 Publication Award, presented by the San Antonio Conservation Society

We're Czechs

By Robert L. Skrabanek

Born into the Czech community of Snook, Texas, in the early twentieth century, Robert L. Skrabanek describes with warmth and familiarity how the immigrants and their families made their heritage a part of their daily lives. We're Czechs, first published in 1988, is an engaging account of life in a close-knit community that clearly considered it a privilege to be Czech--a privilege to be cherished and passed on to the next generation. In these pages readers can sense the community spirit that came from attending worship services held in the Czech language, choosing friends and spouses from the Czech community, setting up cooperatives and fraternal organizations, working the land in traditional ways, baking kolaches, and dancing the polka. " . . . a very informative and entertaining book on ethnic history couched in a very personal, informal, and folksy style."—Southwestern Historical Quarterly "Everyone will enjoy his accounts of rural life as seen and interpreted by a growing boy--the work and how hard it was, the food and how good it tasted, . . . the fun of community get-togethers, the demands and rewards of school, the reality of low income, and beyond all, the exhilaration and excitement of everyday life."—Rural Sociology

The late Robert L. Skrabanek was emeritus professor of sociology at Texas A&M University.

What Readers Are Saying:

"Skrabanek's entertaining memoir describes in loving detail farm chores, field work, relationships between family and friends, community schools, and the Czech Moravian Brethren Church. "In anecdote after anecdote he shares down-home memories ranging from cranking the phonograph at home to hear recordings of Czech polkas, big bands, and Amos n' Andy to catching mules for plowing (it was important, he says, to reward them with an ear of corn or the next time they wouldn't come). . . . this warm, richly-detailed memoir will captivate both Czechs and non-Czechs." --North San Antonio Times

"Robert L. Skrabanek's We're Czechs is a delightful book written by a man who is a Czech-American and a professional sociologist. . . . Skrabanek effectively combines the informality of personal recollections with the sensitivities of a professional sociologist to provide interesting local history and family history." --Western Historical Quarterly

"Historians and general readers will delight in this readable book." --Review of Texas Books

"Written in a down-home, folksy, personal style the book describes the simpler life of a simpler time. . . . We're Czechs provides an anecdotal, informal, and intimate glimpse into the daily life of a Czech farm family. It touches on those small, often mundane events and celebrations that mark a person's character and shape his values. . . . Professor Skrabanek is not an atypical product of this particular time, place, and ethnic community. His experiences mirror the changes in the community and those like it across the state. . . . Fortunately, Professor Skrabanek has provided the reader an entertaining and informative glimpse into a small window to the past." --Texas Books in Review

"Professor Skrabanek's book is a true find, not only for someone who is interested in the subject of European immigration, but for all those who appreciate American culture. It provides a warm glimpse into a special part of American history." --Razem

"For anyone that is interested in Texas ethnic communities, small towns, and small-scale farming before mechanization this book is a must. It is a valuable contribution to the field of community studies --Heritage

" . . . Skrabanek dramatically portrays the work, the social life, the values, the pride, and the spirit, aggrandized by an ethnic identity, which characterized the members of his family and community. Everyone will enjoy his accounts of rural life as seen and interpreted by a growing boy--the work and how hard it was, the food and how good it tasted, the length of the church services, the playing of practical jokes, the handling of baths and outhouses, the certainty of the razor strap, the pride of family and ethnic heritage, the fun of community get-togethers, the demands and rewards of school, the reality of low income, and beyond all, the exhilaration and excitement of everyday life. I do not think anyone can read his obviously 'honest' and unromanticized account of life on a small farm in the depression era without feeling both entertained and informed. . . . a delightful yet serious commentary on one 'case' aspect in the history and development of rural life in the United States." --Rural Sociology

" . . . a very informative and entertaining book on ethnic history couched in a very personal, informal, and folksy style. . . . The author's recollections describe the simpler life of a simpler time. His tales . . . focus on those primary activities that bound families and communities. Most of the chapters are anecdotal and offer small intimate glimpses into the way rural Czech families worked, celebrated, played, and worshipped. The tales touch on those small, often mundane events that mark a person's character and shape his values." --Southwestern Historical Quarterly

". . . We're Czechs provides useful source material for the study of Czech ethnic life in the United States between the two world wars. . ." --Joseph Frederick Zacek, State University of New York, Albany

“ . . . the book presents a fascinating look at the people and customs of Snook . . .” --The Texas Polka News

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