To The Castle And Back

Vaclav Havel

Published: 1 January 2009
Paperback, B Format
129x198mm, 400 pages
ISBN: 9781846271380

Translated by Paul Wilson


As president first of Czechoslovakia and then of the nascent Czech Republic, Havel led central Europe out of communism and into the twenty-first century before stepping down in February 2003. In this illuminating memoir, he recollects his thirteen years at Prague Castle during this pivotal period, writing with wit, charm and candour about the peculiar life of a statesman and his lack of readiness for the surreal challenges of governing a young democracy, as well as reflecting on the future of the EU and the reach of the American superpower, and explaining why he has come to believe the war in Iraq is a fiasco. And then there are the personal revelations, as he speaks for the first time about his battle with lung cancer, the death of his first wife, Olga, and the controversy that has dogged his relationship with his second wife. Infused with characteristic humour, To the Castle and Back is an engaging self-portrait of one of the most important figures of our time.

About the author

Image of Vaclav Havel

Vaclav Havel was born in Czechoslovakia in 1936. His plays have been produced around the world, and he is the author of many influential essays and speeches on totalitarianism, dissent and democratic renewal. He was a founding spokesman for Charter 77, and served as president of the Czech Republic until 2003. He died in December 2011. More about the author


‘A political memoir like no other ... by the end you will have a remarkable feel for Havel's intricate personality - spiky, shy and under-confident but inwardly tough - as well as a compelling record of what candour and moral courage can achieve’



‘Most books are quite like other books. This one isn't. It is unlike any statesman's memoirs I have ever read and Havel's story is an extraordinary one’ Ferdinand Mount

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