Dissident President

To the Castle and Back
Vaclav Havel, Translated by Paul Wilson
Alfred A. Knopf, $27.95, 400 pp.

It is always a pleasure to read Vaclav Havel. His new book displays all the evocative language, philosophical arguments, and ironic twists familiar from his earlier works. More autobiographical than The Power of the Powerless (1990) and Disturbing the Peace (1990), To the Castle and Back gives Havel’s account of his journey from dissident-in-chief to head of state during the Velvet Revolution of 1989-and the turmoil that followed. Hardly...

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About the Author

Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, a former editor of Commonweal, writes frequently in these pages and blogs at dotCommonweal.