Europeana: A Brief History of the Twentieth Century opens on the beaches of Normandy in
1944, comparing the heights of different forces' soldiers and considering how tall, long, or good
at fertilizing fields the men's bodies will be. Probing the depths of humanity and inhumanity,
this is an account of history as it has never been told: "engaging, even frightening." At once
recreating and uncreating the twentieth century, Ourednik explores the connections across the
decades between the disparate figures, events, and politics we thought we knew.
Patrik Ourednik's Europeana merits the author's reputation as a giant of post-1989 Czech
literature. Now translated into 33 languages, the book is a masterwork of cubism, a
polymorphic monologue of statistics and movements and fine print and discoveries that evokes
the deadpan absurdity of Kafka and the gallows humor of Hasek. Ourednik has created a
mesmerizing, maddening account of the past, and his interrogation of "truth" and objectivity
resonates now more than ever.