Vaclav Havel: The Authorized Biography

Overview

Vaclav Havel, the playwright, essayist, dissident who led Czechoslovakia back to democracy and became its president, is one of the most admired men of our time. He stands for values not often found in world politics - courtesy, good taste, intelligence, decency, and, above all, responsibility. But who is this man, and how did he come to think and believe as he does, what formed him, how did he come to play such a pivotal role in his country? For the first time, in this personal and often touching portrait, Eda ...
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Overview

Vaclav Havel, the playwright, essayist, dissident who led Czechoslovakia back to democracy and became its president, is one of the most admired men of our time. He stands for values not often found in world politics - courtesy, good taste, intelligence, decency, and, above all, responsibility. But who is this man, and how did he come to think and believe as he does, what formed him, how did he come to play such a pivotal role in his country? For the first time, in this personal and often touching portrait, Eda Kriseova, a longtime colleague and confidante, tells Havel's life story in its entirety. Havel was born and raised in the spirit of the first Czech Republic, the era between the two world wars that was a period of growth, both as a sophisticated economy and a democracy in which many political philosophies flourished. One grandfather was a diplomat with a visionary plan for Central European cooperation. The other was an urban developer pivotal in building Prague into a modern world capital. Because of his upbringing, Havel was never swayed by communism - he was a political renegade from the very beginning. Kriseova describes Havel's political baptism, when he addressed a congress of the writers union in the early sixties and attacked their values, his career as a playwright, and, after the Prague Spring is crushed in 1968 by Soviet tanks and his writing is banned, his emergence as a dissident. His role in Charter 77, the years in prison, the years out of prison but under house arrest, constantly harassed, are an eye opening look at what it was like in Czechoslovakia under communism. The days of the Velvet Revolution and those that led to it are depicted vividly - we share in the euphoria Czechoslovakia felt as it became a free country again. Kriseova has told Havel's story with the help of his family and closest friends. Their contributions, especially those of film director Milos Forman and the actor Pavel Landovsky, help create a portrait that is at the
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312103170
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 4/19/1993
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 297

Table of Contents

Preface
Prelude 1
1 The Search for Everything Forbidden 1
2 Olga 10
3 Kafka, Ionesco, Beckett 11
4 First Publication, First Public Appearance 13
5 Seven Letters to Melin 16
6 Military Service 20
7 Spiritual Legacy 23
8 Grandfather Vavrecka 27
9 His First Plays 30
10 Background: Bourgeois 35
11 Mother and Father 39
12 On the Balustrade 40
13 Enter Jan Grossman 46
14 The Garden Party 50
15 Tvarists and Tvar 57
16 The Academy of King George 68
17 The Fateful Year of 1968 71
18 The Tanks Rolled In 74
19 An Then Came Normalization 77
20 A Letter to Dr. Husak 87
21 The Beggar's Opera in Pocernice 90
22 The Trial of the Plastics 99
23 Kidnapping Children 105
24 How the Charter Was Prepared 108
25 The Three Kings, 1977 114
26 What Rude Pravo Had to Say About It 122
27 First Imprisonment 134
28 Paragraph 112 138
29 The Railwaymen's Ball 144
30 Passion Plays 145
31 On the Polish Border 150
32 Under Surveillance 154
33 House Arrest 162
34 Imprisonment 167
35 The Trial 172
36 Serving His Sentence 183
37 Letters to Olga 194
38 Dear Vasek 197
39 Free Again 202
40 Largo Desolato 206
41 A Trip to Slovakia 209
42 Temptation 215
43 O Divadle 220
44 Democracy for All 228
45 Jan Palach Week 232
46 In Prison Again 236
47 The Release of Vaclav Havel 238
48 Just a Few Sentences 240
49 November 17 245
50 Civic Forum 246
51 Laterna Magika 250
52 First Dialogue 253
53 Letna Plain 255
54 Spalicek 261
55 The Secret Apartment 262
56 Who Will Be President? 264
Epilogue 268
Glossary 278
Index 291
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