Prague: 1988-1989. A4, reproduced typescript to rectos and versos (most issues offset, a few xeroxed); stapled to left margin or upper left corners; 22–38 pp. per issue. Each with numerous photographs and illustrations. A few issues lightly worn, due to being widely circulated and well read, but all complete and in good to very good condition. Item #6092
Two complete yearly runs, all published (excepting two “zero” issues published in 1987), of the most important publishing platform for Czechoslovak dissidents in the late 1980s, during the tumuluous period that would lead to the so-called Velvet Revolution in winter of 1989. “The independent newspaper Lidové noviny was launched in January 1988 with uncensored material about such topics as East-West disarmament talks and the Soviet role in Afghanistan… [It] published original interviews with Michael Dukakis, George Bush, Alexander Dub ek, and Milovan Djilas, and was probably the most prominent samizdat periodical in Czechoslovakia as of March 1989” (Sabrina P. Ramet, Social Currents in Eastern Europe, Duke University Press, 1995, p. 133).
Approximately 350 copies were printed each month; the rest of the distribution depended on further mimeographed copies and illicit xeroxing. This set consists primarly of original offset copies, reproducing text and images, with a few xeroxed issues. Unprecedented in its coverage of the anti-communist demonstrations starting in January 1988, Lidové noviny refused to back down after threats of imprisonment. It consistently attempted to legalize its activities through a series of unsuccessful lawsuits and appeals. Lidové noviny was one of few samizdat publications that managed to reach a readership beyond underground intellectuals and dissidents, and it is credited with maintaining the momentum of protest that began with the winter 1988 demonstrations. With regular contributions by Václav Havel, Ludvík Vaculík, Jiří Černý (who reviews the rock music scene, for instance), Petr Pithart, Jan Lukeš (the film critic), and many others. Also contains Arthur Miller’s plea to the leaders to release Havel from prison. The final issue (vol. II, no. 12) was printed officially, on newsprint, and features Havel’s printed farewell to the samizdat version of “People’s News” – written shortly before he would become the first democratically elected president of the post-communist Czechoslovak Republic. Rare complete.