cover image Summer Meditations

Summer Meditations

Vaclav Havel. Alfred A. Knopf, $20 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-679-41462-9

In this first book since he became president of Czechoslovakia, Havel forthrightly states what he believes and what he wants for his country. He advocates a politics of decency, stressing that government officials have a moral responsibiity to serve the people. While he supports a market economy, he argues that market mechanisms alone cannot solve all problems, and instead envisages a mixed economy plus a higly decentralized political system with vigorous regional assemblies. Havel calls for a long-range energy strategy, urges strict environmental laws, encourages schools to foster free, independent thinking and strongly opposes the breakup of his nation into separate Czech and Slovak republics. He outlines an electoral system that would give more weight to the popular voice while de-emphasizing party politics. This informal personal testament offers a key to understanding the politics and promise of the post-Communist world. (June)