In This Review

The Communist Party In Power: A Profile Of Party Politics In Czechoslovakia
The Communist Party In Power: A Profile Of Party Politics In Czechoslovakia
By Karel Kaplan, edited and translated by Fred Eidlin
Westview Press, 1987, 231 pp

Kaplan served for many years as a communist functionary, including a stint as historian with access to the party archives. His book is thus an insider's account of how the Czechoslovak party is organized and how it has ruled since 1948 (except for the brief interlude of the Prague Spring in 1968). Even though much of the text makes for tedious reading-what committees met how many times and what member of the apparat transmitted orders to whom-it has some interesting material on the purge trials and other episodes and it does reveal the inner workings of the system in all their complexity, by no means the classic model of totalitarianism. Kaplan makes two questionable assumptions, which the editor flags in his introduction: that the setup in Czechoslovakia was and is similar to that in every communist state, and that it is practically invulnerable to change and decay.