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What is it like to be handed the keys to power and told to build a democratic state from scratch? Havel offers a disarmingly honest and frequently ...Show synopsisWhat is it like to be handed the keys to power and told to build a democratic state from scratch? Havel offers a disarmingly honest and frequently funny account of the challenges of running a country, both major (his struggle against Mafia capitalism) and mundane (his struggle to work his own computer system).This book provides a frank and fresh perspective on the politicking and horse-trading in Washington, the EU and NATO, with revealing sketches of the personalities involved, from the Clintons to Gorbachev. On 2 February 2008, it will be the fifth anniversary of Havel stepping down as the first President of the Czech Republic after 10 years in the role. Author visit to UK - opportunities for features, author events, radio appearances and serious broadsheet attention. This is a simultaneous publication in export tpb - ISBN 978 1 84627 145 8.As president first of Czechoslovakia and then of the nascent Czech Republic, Havel led central Europe out of communism and into the twenty-first century before stepping down 5 years ago, in February 2003. In this illuminating memoir, he recollects his thirteen years at Prague Castle during this pivotal period, writing with wit, charm and candour about the peculiar life of a statesman and his lack of readiness for the surreal challenges of governing a young democracy, as well as reflecting on the future of the EU and the reach of the American superpower, and explaining why he has come to believe the war in Iraq is a fiasco. And then there are the personal revelations, as he speaks for the first time about his battle with lung cancer, the death of his first wife, Olga, and the controversy that has dogged his relationship with his second wife. Infused with characteristic humour, "To the Castle and Back" is an engaging self-portrait of one of the most important figures of our time.Hide synopsis
To the Castle and Back (Vintage Books Canada) – Trade paperback (2008)
Vaclav Havel, Paul Wilson (Translator)
Trade paperback, Vintage Books Canada 2008
ISBN: 0676979483 ISBN-13: 9780676979480
An astonishingly candid memoir from the acclaimed, dissident playwright elected President after the dramatic Czechoslovakian Velvet Revolution -- one of the most respected political figures of our time. As writer and statesman, Vaclav Havel played an essential part in the profound changes that occurred in Central Europe in the last decades of the twentieth century. In this most intimate memoir, he writes about his transition from outspoken dissident and political prisoner to a player on the international stage in 1989 as ...Show moreAn astonishingly candid memoir from the acclaimed, dissident playwright elected President after the dramatic Czechoslovakian Velvet Revolution -- one of the most respected political figures of our time. As writer and statesman, Vaclav Havel played an essential part in the profound changes that occurred in Central Europe in the last decades of the twentieth century. In this most intimate memoir, he writes about his transition from outspoken dissident and political prisoner to a player on the international stage in 1989 as newly elected president of Czechoslovakia after the ousting of the Soviet Union, and, in l993, as president of the newly formed Czech Republic. Havel gives full rein to his impassioned stance against the devastation wrought by communism, but the scope of his concern in this engrossing memoir extends far beyond the circumstances he faced in his own country. The book is full of anecdotes of his interactions with world figures: offering a peace pipe to Mikhail Gorbachev, meditating with the Dali Lama, confessing to Pope John Paul II and partying with Bill and Hilary Clinton. Havel shares his thoughts on the future of the European Union and the role of national identity in today's world. He explains why he has come to change his mind about the war in Iraq, and he discusses the political and personal reverberations he faces because of his initial support of the invasion. He writes with equal intelligence and candour about subjects as diverse as the arrogance of western power politics, the death of his first wife and his own battle with lung cancer. Woven through are internal memos he wrote during his presidency that take us behind the scenes of the Prague Castle - the government's seat of power - showing the internal workings of the office and revealing Havel's mission to act as his country's conscience, and even, at times, its chief social convenor. Written with characteristic eloquence, wit and well-honed irony combined with an unfailing sense of wonder at the course his life has taken, To the Castle and Back is a revelation of one of the most important political figures of our time. "From the Hardcover edition."Hide
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How often do we find in a first rate politican figure a professional creative writer? Havel is legendary, almost mythic in his public presence. This is his wonderfully crafted account, not of his resistence and imprisonment, but of his years as president of Czechoslovakia, and then of the Czech Republic ...
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