Thomas J. Bata, remembered

Stanislav Knotek

We compiled this book to pay homage to Thomas J. Bata and also to pay back some of the debt that we still owe him, which is one of the reasons that it comes in two parts.

In the first part, thirty-two different people from all walks of life paint thirty-two different pictures of this extraordinary man. They all share their personal experiences, ranging from brief encounters to long friendships, from a few interesting memories to lifelong inspiration.

In the second part we offer a quick overview of his vast achievements in business and enterprise.

There is no doubt that Thomas J. Bata ( 17/9/1914 – 1/9/2008) was a man of global significance. The long list of important posts in the top international organizations he served in, as well as of awards and decorations he received, all bear witness to his standing, though he would have simply called himself a shoemaker - 'shoemaker to the world'. Thanks to the Velvet Revolution, we also finally got the chance to meet him in person. But something strange happened in Czechoslovakia then, something that could only happen because of the forty-four year ban on the Bata name, from 1945 to 1989. When welcoming Thomas J. Bata back home, we were in fact celebrating the return of his father. When praising the Bata achievements in conversations with him, we were thinking of all that his father had built, things that could still be seen all around us. We had no interest in the work of Thomas J. Bata, the man who built - out there in the world, out of our sight -  the largest shoe empire of all time. This book is an attempt to right that wrong, if only in part...

The story of the life and work of Thomas J. Bata is further illustrated by a number of personal photographs.

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