John Keane | About the Book
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About the Book

Vaclav Havel- A Political Tragedy in Six Acts

Hardcover: 325 pages
Publisher: Basic Books (2000)
Languages: English
ISBN-10: 0465037194
ISBN-13: 978-0465037193

This authorized biography of Havel, based on unrestricted access to him, his circle, and even his enemies, is not only the first definitive account of one of the modern world’s great moral and political leaders but also a vivid panorama of the tumultuous events of his times. Havel’s life, like that of his African counterpart Nelson Mandela, has been shaped and determined by the large political shifts of the twentieth century. Readers will taste the moments of joy, irony, farce, and misfortune through which he has lived, and realize that he has taught the world more about the powerful and the powerless, power-grabbing and power-sharing, than virtually anyone else on the world stage.

Vaclav Havel has been revered as one of the century’s great playwrights, dissidents and honest champions of democracy, many of the episodes in his life remain unknown. In this high acclaimed book, John Keane reveals a Havel so far unseen, dramatizing the key moments of joy, misery, triumph and tragedy on which his life has turned.

Václav Havel died aged 75

A poet and playwright, a political writer, dissident and a politician, Havel was the tenth and last President of Czechoslovakia, and the first President of the Czech Republic founded in 1993. For John Keane’s assessment of the life and writings of Václav Havel, click here





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Vaclav Havel: A Political Tragedy in Six Acts- Attempts to Escape the Logic of Capitalism
Slavoj Zizek

London Review of Books | Vol. 21 No. 21 dated 28 October 1999

Vaclav Havel’s life would seem to be an unrivalled success story: the Philosopher-King, a man who combines political power with a global moral authority comparable only to that of the Pope, the Dalai Lama or Nelson Mandela. And just as at the end of a fairy tale when the hero is rewarded for all his suffering by marrying the princess, he is married to a beautiful movie actress. Why, then, has John Keane chosen as the subtitle of his biography ‘A Political Tragedy in Six Acts’?