To the Castle and Back

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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 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 ...

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Francesca

Sep 4, 2007

The human hero

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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