A Life
Product Number: EB00640844
Released: Mar 11, 2016
Business Term: Purchase
ISBN: #9780802192394
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
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The "definitive biography" of the poet and political dissident who became the last president of Czechoslovakia—and first president of the Czech Republic (Walter Isaacson). This portrait of Vaclav Havel, iconoclast and intellectual, renowned playwright turned political dissident, president of a united then divided nation, and dedicated human rights activist, is written by his former press secretary, advisor, and longtime friend—and recounts the turbulent twentieth-century era through which he prevailed. Havel's lifelong perspective as an outsider began with his privileged childhood in Prague and his family's blacklisted status following the Communist coup of 1948. This feeling of being outcast fueled his career as an essayist and a dramatist writing absurdist plays as social commentary. His involvement during the Prague Spring and his leadership of Charter 77, his unflagging belief in the power of the powerless, and his galvanizing personality catapulted Havel into a pivotal role as the leader of the Velvet Revolution in 1989. Although Havel was a courageous visionary, he was also a man of great contradictions, wracked with doubt and self-criticism. But he always remained true to himself. This "smart and exciting" biography is "both inspiring and filled with lessons for our time" (Walter Isaacson). "Havel was one of the most important intellectual-troublemaking statesmen of his time—a nonconformist, determined to live in truth, who questioned the system, his countrymen and himself constantly. No one is better suited than Michael Zantovsky to describe, interpret, and analyze this moral giant . . . A brilliantly informed intellectual and political history." —Madeleine Albright "Entertaining, intimate, and moving . . . Zantovsky's voice—that of a natural storyteller with an eye for the memorable anecdote, a mischievous wit, an easy intelligence, and keen sense of balance and fairness—is so engaging." —Paul Wilson, The New York Review of Books

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