In his first book as president of the Czech and Slovak Federal Republic, Vaclav Havel offers us a profound meditation on the nature and practice of politics and a stirring plea for morality, civility, and openness in public life in a time of overwhelming global change. From his unique perspective as both a head of state and a writer of great clarity and eloquence, Havel reflects on his experience in office, and on the questions that his own presence there brings so powerfully to mind: Is there a place for morality, and for simple decency, in politics? Have his ideals and principles--forged through two decades of courageous opposition to totalitarianism--a place in public life? His answer, put forth with remarkable candour, is unequivocally affirmative. He explores in this forthright book the practical problems facing his country today and openly examines the traumas of economic transition that have become central not only in Czechoslovakia but throughout the former Communist bloc. He grapples with the details of political change, and with the complex emotional issues of nationalism, separatism, and environmental devastation. He argues for a dynamic new market economy tempered by compassion, and for the central role of art and culture in transforming society. Writing with passion and energy, Havel reveals his dreams and his vision for a civil society of the future, stressing the essential goodwill in people, the responsibilities of those who lead them, and the need for tolerance. In the great seriousness of his commitment he demonstrates a moral and political consistency all too rare in public life. Summer Meditations is a timely and necessary book. Illuminated by Vaclav Havel'ssincerity and directness, by his common sense and by his uncommon moral courage, it gives us an essential understanding of the problems and the promise in the post-Communist world.