Summer Meditations
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Summer Meditations

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  112 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In a book written while he was president of Czechoslovakia, Vaclav Havel combines the same powerful eloquence, moral passion, and abiding wisdom that informed his writing as a dissident and playwright, with a candor unprecedented from one with the broad perspective and infinite responsibility of governing a country.

Havel, now president of the Czech Republic, addresses the...more
Paperback, 149 pages
Published June 1st 1993 by Vintage (first published January 1st 1991)
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I thought I read this book for the first time when I was 18, but when I "re-read" it a couple of months ago, it seemed to me that I maybe hadn't actually read the whole thing back then. I think I may only have read the first couple of chapters. Anyways, now I've read the whole thing.

Havel wrote this book while he was the president of Czechoslovakia, shortly before the Velvet Divorce when the county split up. This is a book that really gives you hope that politics really can be moral and civil. I...more
Mar 16, 2008 Jim rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in political philosophy
When I first read this series of essays in 1994, the revolutions of 1989 were still giving off a soft afterglow. Havel, the dissident playwright, led the "Velvet Revolution" that overthrew the communist regime in Czechoslovakia and was subsequently chosen as president. He symbolized the new Europe for many people.

Havel argues that the validity of political systems should be judged on how well they conform to humanistic values. Reading his work gives one hope that a politics based in ethical rela...more
the next presendential election is over a year away, and i'm already feeling disenchanted by politics again. reading havel's political and personal philosophy was a breath of fresh air. it's nice to hear a public figure talk about morality and discover they are referring to kindness, sincerity and compassion rather than the "morality" talking points we are subjected to by politicians in this country -- dogmatic right wing ideology. imagine having a dissident and playwright as our president who "...more
Frank Roberts
I hold Havel in high esteem--the closest thing in our modern age to one of the American Founding Fathers, endowed with good sense, intellect, principle, and love of country.

This book is a collection of his thoughts on the path for the Czechoslovakian nation in the early 90s. Much of what he predicted and hoped for has come to pass, but the real value of this book is in its expression of timeless wisdom about political principles and human nature.
A decent book, but it lacks the power of Disturbing the Peace. More than a guide to living in truth, this book serves as a chronicle of the first years after the Velvet Revolution in the Czech Republic. Thus, like most memoirs it tends to skirt Havel's most personal thoughts. Notwithstanding this fault, the book does a fair job of defending democracy and the free market, as well as illumining the challenges facing Eastern Europe.
Megan Aveni
While I do see this book as a very optimistic approach to politics, Havel's hope for the world is contagious, and his passion is unmistakable. His understanding of human nature is invaluable. This book is full of practical wisdom, not only for aspiring politicians, but also for those who simply wish to make a difference in the world around them. I highly recommend this read.
George Zarubin
Fascinating insights into Havel's thinking... Not sure I agree with his thoughts that a state can be based on ideas, not ideology, but I like his reference about working for a 'higher responsibility' in one's life! Good book!
Kayla Grzech
Jun 01, 2012 Kayla Grzech is currently reading it
if you were to take everything i've ever said, felt, or thought about politics and write it down into a book, this would be it. Except told from the viewpoint of a revolutionary Czech president.
Moral, intelligent, insightful these essays suggests that there is hope for politics.
If only more world leaders were as passionate and dedicated as Havel.
Vaclav, bravo!
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Goodreads Librari...: combining edition 2 7 Jul 01, 2014 02:07PM  
Václav Havel was a Czech playwright, essayist, poet, dissident and politician. He was the tenth and last President of Czechoslovakia (1989–92) and the first President of the Czech Republic (1993–2003). He wrote over twenty plays and numerous non-fiction works, translated internationally. He received the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Philadelphia Liberty Medal, the Order of Canada, the free...more
More about Václav Havel...
The Garden Party and Other Plays Power of the Powerless Disturbing the Peace: A Conversation with Karel Hvížďala Open Letters: Selected Writings, 1965-1990 Audience (Acting Edition)

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