About the Author
Karel Capek was the most famous author in Czechoslovakia in the first half of the 20th century, and his works inspired the ill fated revolt against Communist rule 30 years later. His works are widely translated. Son of a doctor, Capek studied philosophy in Paris, Berlin, and Prague. Becoming a journalist, Karel was firmly entrenched between mutual hatreds for the Nazis and the Communists; promoting a free and democratic Czechoslovakia and supporting those political figures of like mind. Capek's first major success came as a playwright when he created the robot in his 1921 play R. U. R., (Rossum Universal Robots); intended as a satire against the Czech agrarian feudal system. Karel authored other less successful works but outstanding above them was the utopian type fantasy novel, War with the Newts, another political statement. When the Nazi overtook Europe, Capek was forced to surrender his dreams along with his spirit and, thereby, his life, when Czechoslovakia was abandoned by the Western nations in the pact made at Munich. He saw his world and time as lost, yet Capek would not leave the country or his beautiful Prague, fully realizing that the decision to stay meant his death. But rather than death coming at the hands of his enemies, it came from pneumonia...in his home, in his bed, with his wife nearby. Others would not be so lucky.