To the Castle and Back
By Vaclav Havel
(Vintage, Paperback, 9780307388452, 400pp.)
Publication Date: May 6, 2008
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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From the former president of the Czech Republic comes this first-hand account of his years in office and the transition to democracy following the fall of Communism.
A renowned playwright, Václav Havel became one of Czechoslovakia's most prominent dissidents under Communist rule – and the president after the Velvet Revolution, making him a key player in European politics. Here we see first-hand the challenges of creating a new government, tempered with Havel's revealing insights into the difficulties posed by an era of increased globalization and conflict. He discusses not only the situation in his own country, but also such pressing issues as the future of the European Union, the war in Iraq, and the role of the United States in contemporary affairs. Written with an eye towards both the political and the personal and a witty, well-honed eloquence, To the Castle and Back is a rare glimpse into the minds of one of the most important political figures of modern times.
Born in Czechoslovakia in 1936, Vaclav Havel is a noted playwright, a founding spokesman of Charter 77, and the author of many influential essays on totalitarianism and dissent. In 1979 he was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for his involvement in the Czech human rights movement. In November 1989 he helped found the Civic Forum, his country's first legal opposition movement in forty years, and the following month he became president of Czechoslovakia. He served as president of the Czech Republic from 1993 to 2003. He lives in Prague.
“Moving and often beautifully expressed....To the Castle and Back gives us any number of sharp portrayals.” —Los Angeles Times Book Review“An artful, sly, and touching self portrait.” —The New York Times Book Review“Fascinating...Havel displays [democratization] in heartbreaking, frustrating reality.” —Cleveland Plain Dealer