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Mary Heimann United States of America    PWF 2013

Mary Heimann

Mary Heimann made the fatal mistake of writing about Czechoslovakia. The State That Failed — “loaded with dynamite” — dissects the 80-year-old cadaver with a sharp scalpel — cutting through the ligaments of democracy, fascism, dictatorship, Nazi occupation, communist rule, Soviet invasion, and the ultimate creation of the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Except for the book Czechoslovakia: The State that Failed (2009), she also published a study Catholic Devotion in Victorian England (1995).


Born in 1962 in The Hague, Netherlands, Mary Heimann was educated at Vassar College and the University of Oxford and published widely in the field of British religious history — before dropping everything, learning Czech and moving to Prague for two years to conduct intensive research in the StB archives—in order to validate her fascination with Czechoslovakia.


“A particularly Habsburg way of conceiving of national identity—ended twice in the creation, and twice in the destruction, of a state called Czechoslovakia.”


Mary Heimann is Reader in Modern History at the University of Strathclyde and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland.