Czech Voices

Stories from Texas in the Amerikán Národní Kalendár

978-0-89096-846-8 Paperback
5.5 x 8.5 x 0 in
184 pp. 10 b&w photos.
Pub Date: 06/01/1998


  • Paperback $18.95
1991 Publication Award, presented by the San Antonio Conservation Society
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.

Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students, Texas A&M University

Published by Texas A&M University Press