To the Castle and Back (Main)


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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 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 ...

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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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