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Disturbing the Peace: A Conversation with Karel Huizdala Paperback – April 3, 1991
"The Most Wanted Man in China" by Fang Lizhi
My Journey from Scientist to Enemy of the State | Check out "The Most Wanted Man in China".
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
- Marcia L. Sprules, Council on Foreign Relations Lib., New York
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
"Disturbing the Peace". This book is a series of essays by the
dissident Vaclav Havel that were smuggled out of communist
Czechoslovakia and translated by a Havel friend in the West. Vaclav
Havel was a playwright who became a Czech dissident who became leader
of the Velvet revolution (which ousted the communists) and who finally
became president of the republic.
Vaclav Havel was the foremost
dissident under the communist regime. He openly challenged the ruling
government with such essays as "Power to the Powerless" and
"The Soul of Main under Communism". (Actually I forgot the name
of the latter essay. I think "The Soul of Man under Communism"
is an essay written by Oscar Wilde. But Havel did address this theme
in "Disturbing the Peace" and in essays he forwarded to the
One of the most exciting parts of the book is
where Havel describes the dissident communitie's efforts to publish a
Havel essay advocating that the Czech government adhere to the terms
of the Charter 77 human rights accord to which they were a signatory.
The story is spine tingling thriller complete with car chases and
obscure drop points. It reads like a John le Carre novel except it is
After you read "Disturbing to Peace" I also recommend
"The Magic Lanten" by Timothy Garton Ash. This is a first hand
account of the fall of the communism as the democratic revolution
rolled across Czechoslovakia, East German, Hungary, and Romania.
Garton Ash was privy to the inner circle of people who plotted and
executed these bloodless coups. (Bloodless everywhere except, of
course, in Romania.)
This book offers another vision of him that looks deeper into his very troubled, but nevertheless very important soul. Having had this book on my bookshelf, left unread for almost 20 years, this oversight alone makes me as guilty of seeing only the "shadow Havel as anti-Communist caricature," as the rest.
In this very thoughtful series of autobiographical interviews, the "deeper Vaclav Havel," comes through loudly and clearly. And here I mean of course the one just beyond the popular anti-Communist Western created veneer. Havel has always used his very subtle, supple and artistic mind to become more than just an Anti-Communist firebrand. In the grand tradition of other Europeans, and more than anything else, he is an existentialist humanist thinker, with much practical advice for democrats. However his primary concerns have never been just with the fetishized political games that superpowers play.Read more ›
This book should be read as an adjunct to the author's other major book along these lines on power to the powerless.
The most gripping and troubling conclusion that I drew from this book is that the United States of America is today much closer to where Czechoslovakia was in 1968 than anyone other than the Chomsky's and Vidal's might be willing to admit. We have both a federal government and a national corporate economy that thrives on elitist secrecy and blatant lies--even our non-profit sector is corrupt, from the Red Cross to United Way to many others. The people, the citizen-voters, truly have lost all power, as well as access to the information that might give them back the power, and this is indeed a black, absurdist-realist situation.
On a more positive note, the author offers up, in the course of a long series of interviews, a number of ideas that are relevant to America today, as well as to any other emerging or re-emergent democracies in the making.
1) Model of behavior. When arguing with the center of power, do not get side-tracked with ideological debates over right or wrong. Focus on very specific concrete things (e.g. term limits, campaign finance reform, neighborhood economics) and stick to your guns.
2) Popular coalitions. Non-violent non-partisan popular coalitions are the core means of taking back the power. They represent a means for bring together groups of people from widely divergent backgrounds, with genuine social tolerance.
3) Informal networks. Even under conditions of repression and censorship, informal networks of dissidents and quasi-dissidents can be effective in sharing information through samizdat publications.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nothing is taken for granted; every idea is subject to closer scrutiny and reevaluation. We need more conversations like this. This book is well worth your timePublished on September 3, 2013 by Beth
Havel is a man I greatly admire. Unfortunately, too few people in the West know of this remarkable man who led The Velvet Revolution in what is now the Czech Republic. Read morePublished on October 6, 2012 by Eurocat
This is a fine book about an amazing man. I was truly inspired by Vaclav Havel after reading this book. Read morePublished on December 29, 2000 by J. A Gant