The Good Soldier Svejk

Brilliant book. Jaroslav Hasek was pretty cool, too. One of the many Czechs in the Austrian service who deserted to the Russkies, where they organised a Czech army in exile. He was a charter member, and took part in the fighting in Russia between the Czechs, who were up for fighting anyone who was between them and Czechland, and the Red Army.

However, rather than going home when the Reds agreed to repatriate the Czechs rather than have to fight them any more, he stayed on in Russia to take part in the revolution and became a commissar in the Red Army, before falling out with his superiors, doing some time in jail, and going home to Prague, where he began writing Svejk. He died whilst talking about the next volume of the book with his pals in a pub, so the book was never really finished.

Before the first world war, he'd been the leader of a political party called The Party of Reasonable, Limited Progress within the Limits of the Law that he set up as a pisstake of Austro-Hungarian politics, and incidentally to save his local pub from going bust by holding controversial election rallies there.
His biography is a great read.

Superb Book - make sure you get the full version, have not got around to seeing the film yet though

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