Book review HS-2.docx - 1 Huai Siam In the book u201cFrom...

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1 Huai Siam In the book, “From Praha to Prague: Czechs in an Oklahoma Farm Town”, Philip D. Smith tells the development of the Czech community in the rural town of Prague, Oklahoma. Smith specifically focuses on Czech people, who are originally from Bohemia and Moravia who migrated to the United States in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth. He successfully unfolds Czechs Way of life in their new country and how they embrace their new life while maintaining their identity as Czech. He gives strong argument into the difficulties of the immigrant group surrounded by the influence of a native-white born population. Smith also examines the different Czechs who settle in urban and rural settings and brings out the different responses to their settlement locations. Throughout the book, Smith creates credibility by using a wide variety of the primary and secondary sources like census data, church records, cemetery records, newspapers, biographies, and other recorded studies. Most of the information strongly leans toward primary sources. Smith successfully portrays the story as a whole when he adds personal circumstances to different situations. Smith further uses data comparison of different recorded history and research conducted over a period of time. His ability to create credibility through a variety of sources, successfully allows the reader to perceive the community of Czechs of Prague. The book starts off with exploring the early cases of Czech immigration to the United States. Based on records, Augustine Herman was the first Czech who settled in the United States in the 1650s . Many Czechs follow the footsteps of Herman to search for a better life across the United States (11). However in 1891, a great opportunity arose when there was a chance to participate in a land run and settle in east-central Oklahoma. This opportunity drew many people's attention and many people took the opportunity, including Czechs. One of the Czechs
2 who took this opportunity was Vlasaks.When the alarm to open land run with a gun sounded, Vlasaks ran and selected a place which was later known as Lincoln County (19). This was the unofficial start of Prague, Oklahoma. In 1902, the property that Simek and Kozack owned was purchased by E.L Conklin and offered to the community. Together with the residents and Eva Barta, they named the place Praha referring to the town Praha, Czechoslovakia. However, it was later renamed Prague to sound more Americanized (3). Over time, this place was crowded with Bohemians. Although these people do not have any previous connection, their same goals, language, and culture brought them together, united by their cultural ties and language. According to the 1900 census record, twelve percent of the population was identified as Czech and in 1910, the percent increased to 31 percent (25). Needless to say, the place headed toward expansion of the Czech population.

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