Book Review: Vojnové 40. roky (The Warring Forties)

BOOK INFO

vojnove 40 roky book cover

Title: Vojnové 40. roky
Author: Juraj Šebo
Publisher: Marenčin PT, 2013
Pages: 270
Language: slovenský / Slovak
Version: print

 

MY RATING:

4 stars black

I decided to write a bilingual review, since this book is in Slovak, but I write my blog in English. 
So this review is gonna be in both, Slovak and English. (Hence the little flags in the corner.) 


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MOJE HODNOTENIE: 

Po tejto sérii pokukujem už dlhšie a konečne som sa rozhodla s ňou začať po tom, ako som videla tieto knižky v našej renovovanej knižnici. Začínam „odspodu navrch“, teda od 40. rokov vyššie, aj keď myslím, že autor ich písal v opačnom poradí.

Ako prvý ma zaujal autorov sarkazmussuchý humor, ktorý ja osobne vždy viem oceniť. Počas čítania som sa viackrát zasmiala na autorovom výbere slov a na nezmyselnosti niektorých jeho výrokov.

„V našom okrese bolo osem daždivých dní. Z toho dva dni vôbec nepršalo.“
„WHW – Winter Hilfe Woľačo“

Knižka sa číta veľmi dobre, je rozdelená na krátke častikapitoly, a približuje bratislavský život počas vojny ľuďom, ktorí vojnu možno nikdy nezažili. Pán Šebo veľmi často spomína názvy konkrétnych ulíc a bývalých a súčasných podnikov v Bratislave, preto si myslím, že najviac to dokážu oceniť ľudia, ktorí poznajú Bratislavu ako svoje ponožky.

Mňa osobne najviac zaujala časť, kde autor opisuje históriu (v tej dobe) najobľúbenejšej bratislavskej kaviarničky Štefánky. Tu sa schádzali bohémovia a velikáni 40. rokov, medzi nimi mnohé známe mená, slovenskí básnici, prozaici, politici a iné dôležité a zaujímavé osobnosti.

cr02Autor poskytol obrovské množstvo fotografií, ktoré sprevádzajú jednotlivé kapitoly, a vďaka ktorým si človek môže vytvoriť ucelenú predstavu o spomínaných veciach a udalostiach. Či už sa jedná o prídelové lístky, rodinné fotografie, cenník automobilov, rôzne reklamy, listy, politické plagáty, atď.  Toto všetko podáva lepší a presnejší obraz o dobe, kedy samotný autor a mnohí naši predkovia vyrastali.

Boli tam aj isté veci, ktoré si autor mohol odpustiť, napríklad časté konštatovania typu „Dnes to už nie je čo to bolo kedysi; dnes sú veci nanič, v minulosti bolo všetko lepšie“, lebo to mi potom príde, akoby som čítala memoár nejakého frustrovaného, zatrpknutého starca.

Celkovo sa mi však knižka páčila, rozhodne by som ju odporučila všetkým, mladým aj starým, ktorých zaujíma história „bežných ľudí“ a ktorí si chcú priblížiť život svojich starých rodičov a vo všeobecnosti život Slovákov v 40. rokoch.


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MY REVIEW:

Even though I believe this book is not translated to English, I still decided to write an English review, so that I can introduce our current Slovak literature to my readers.

I’ve been eyeing this series for a while now and I finally decided to start it when I saw this book in our newly
refurbished library. I’m starting with the 1940s and I’ll work my way up chronologically to the more recent decades, even though I think they were written the other way around.

When reading, the first thing that caught my eye was the author’s sarcasm and his rather dry humor, which I always appreciate. There were several instances when I laughed out loud at the author’s interesting choice of words or the absurdity of some of his conclusions.

“WHW – Winter Hilfe Whatever”

The book is very well written, and despite there not being any real plot or action, it reads quickly and not at all like a boring history book. It is divided into several parts and short chapters and offers a nice look at the life in Bratislava during the war to people who might not have experienced it first-hand. Mr. Šebo often mentions the names of particular streets and businesses and/or buildings that used to be there, which only those who really know Bratislava can appreciate.

The part I was most interested in, was introducing and describing the history of the most famous café of that time called Štefánka (Stephania). Here, many of the Slovak greats gathered, including poets, writers, politicians and lots of other interesting and important individuals.

The author offered a great amount of photographies in particular chapters, which help in creating a whole and complex picture of the events mentioned. Be it family photos, car prices, advertisements, letters, posters, etc. All this offers a better idea of the times in which many of our ancestors grew up.

However, there were few things that could have been left out. For instance, the author frequently commented that “In these days, everything sucks; everything was better back then”. This does not read well. It reads like a memoir of a frustrated, angry old man.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. I would definitely recommend it to anyone and everyone who enjoys the history of “the common people” and to the curious ones who just want to get a better look at the lives of our ancestors in the 1940s Slovakia.


That is all for my first review on this blog.
Thank you for reading and have a nice day!
Oh, and Happy Easter!

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Currently Reading: The Warring Forties

Lately, I’ve really been into history, I’ve been watching documentaries about JFK, about the holocaust, and I’ve also been reading some history books. Currently, I’m reading a Slovak book called “Vojnové 40. roky” which isn’t in English, but the translation of the title would be The Warring Forties.

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It is written by Juraj Šebo, a man in his seventies, who’s been living in Bratislava (the capital of Slovakia) all his life. He also wrote about the 1950s, 1960s, etc, basically about every decade in the last 80 years or so. He got his parents and some friends and other people to contribute and describe the life in the 1940s, especially in Slovakia. from several different points of view.

The book is written in a very easy-to-read format, there are many different chapters and parts, and the author also included lots of pictures. Unfortunately, the majority of the pictures are very small, but it’s only understandable that the author wanted to provide as many photos as possible on top of all the information.

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Of course, a significant part of this books talks about the war, but you also get a great insight into the people’s lives before and after WW2. I especially love finding out about the small stuff, like what games did kids like to play or where adults spent most of their time or what were their favorite leisure activities. These are the most interesting parts for me.

My favorite part so far has been learning about a well-loved café in Bratislava, called “Štefánka” where a lot of our famous Slovak literary figures gathered and spent their time together. It’s different when you learn about these great people in high school, you mostly just learn about their literary works without ever knowing what kind of a person they used to be – it almost feels like ancient history. But when you read about them as if they were still alive, when you read about the details like where they liked to drink their coffee, who they spent their time with or what they liked to discuss, they finally feel like real people. They actually lived only a few decades ago.
That’s why I never liked literature (the subject) in school – we never learned about these interesting people, we only had to memorize their works for the tests. But that’s a rant for some other time, haha.

I hope you have a beautiful day and spend as much of it reading as possible! ♥ 

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