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 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 ...Read MoreWhat 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.Read Less
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. Original and exciting, the genre he has chosen generates much of the interest. It does not start at the beginning and march dutifully to the end of the story, but interweaves notes from the years of his presidential terms, answers to a journalist's questions, and accounts of the time in which he is writing, to produce a vibrant portrait of the hero who is also a deeply complex and lovable human person.
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