Vaclav Havel: A Political Tragedy In Six Acts
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Vaclav Havel: A Political Tragedy In Six Acts

3.53 of 5 stars 3.53  ·  rating details  ·  38 ratings  ·  7 reviews
This authorized biography of Havel, based on unrestricted access to him, his circle, and even his enemies, is the first definitive account of one of the great moral and political leaders of our time, a vivid portrait of the tumultuous events of this century. Begun as European colonialism was dying and fascism gripped the continent, Havel's life has been shaped and determin...more
Hardcover, 544 pages
Published May 1st 2000 by Basic Books (first published 1999)
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Dave
The weaknesses - a bit too long. Also some might find the ending, the fact that actually governing is harder than criticizing a government, fairly predictable. I think the book has many more strengths, among them -

- Even though you can anticipate the ending, like a Shakespeare tragedy, you want to see how it plays out, and the author does this fairly well.

- I really enjoyed the sections on Havel's plays and their relation to his ideas. I had always assumed that a 'political' play must be deathl...more
David Miller
This is as biography should be: concerned equally with the lives of people and the ideas that give their lives meaning. Often it leans hard on those ideas, dropping out of narrative in favor of explications of theories of power and the individual. But this is necessary, because without that context, even a life like Havel's is only a dull play.

Keane's writing is energetic and personal, but extremely focused, setting a tone for some of the best writing on Communism in history that I have ever rea...more
Candace
I read this book a couple years ago for my Senior Theatre Seminar class in college. The class was centered around Havel and his work in Political Theatre. This book became sort of the cornerstone of our class discussions and was a great resource for putting Havel's plays into historical context. Although I'm not usually a fan of biographical works, I do find Havel's life fascinating. It's definitely not a book for everyone, but I would recommend this book to anyone studying Theatre History or an...more
Robert Wechsler
An odd biography. Not really of artistic significance unfortunately, but oddly structured, often opinionated, not at all academic, critical without being sensational or ideological. It does an especially good job with the dissident milieu, and a decent job with Havel’s philosophy, although not enough with its origins (e.g., very little about Masaryk or Capek; but Havel confesses that he was a devotee of Masaryk in ethics, and liked Capek’s interest in the heroism of everyday life and that indivi...more
Michelle
This was a very long informative book. To get through it you really need to have a special interest in Czech politics/culture and history. Although there were a lot of references I didn't understand and I did have to re-read a lot of pages it definitely gave me some insight into the lifestyle and mentality of the times in Czechoslovakia.

I will say that there are some parts of the book the drag but overall I enjoyed it
Sandu
Some facts of the book are impossible to check or to know. The format of the book is very long, dense and complicated... but nevertheless a very insightful look into the life of the remarkable Vaclav Havel! I guess V.H. himself would find this book very 'not true'
Jim
A lot of the time, it felt like it was more about the author's musings on political philosophy. Havel sometimes seemed to be incidental.
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