General Petr Pavel has issued his official biography. His memoirs are funny and harrowing.
The book brings a subheading “In the front line”. The Czechs loved General Pavel when he was the Chief of the General Staff. The world has known him as the Chairman of the NATO Military Committee. He found a way to soldiers’ hearts a long time ago thanks to his heroic action in former Yugoslavia. But nobody could suspect that he, as a kid, was suffered from ADHD. So primary school teachers cursed him. And much more…
This all has been written in a compact form not only by Petr Pavel, but also by his farther, sister, wife, sons and comrade-in-arms. His farther, also an army officer, brought up his son in military style – he continually entrusted him with the tasks, which exceeded the boy’s age by demandingness. And sent him to play hockey and to train gymnastics. On the threshold of adolescence, Petr went to a Military gymnasium and ensured a parental consent to jump with parachute.
He got here the best preparation so that he was able to assert himself in prestige reconnaissance units. At that time Czechoslovakia was part of the Warsaw Pact, but the ice was starting to melt. Young Petr Pavel did the right think when – apart of obligatory study of Russian – studied English as well.
Thus, at the beginning of the ‘90s, he was one of the first, then Czechoslovakian, soldiers who participated in a foreign mission. Together with a unit consisting from volunteers, he set off to rescue French soldiers from captivity. In the middle of a ragging battle between the Serbians and Croats. The popular Czech slogan “We can come to an arrangement” didn’t work so much as the rescue team wished. In spite of this, all were survived, the prisoners were rescued.
And only in the memoir the fans of General Pavel have a chance to find out all details of this adventure. For completeness’ sake, these details are additionally described in separate chapter by Colonel Karel Klinovský, a participant of the mission and the best friend. Not less interesting is to look at the general’s family life. He is relatively self-critical and admits that he hasn’t always had enough time for his loved ones. In spite of this, from our conversation with his family, it is evident mutual respect, tolerance, love and never-dying support.
General Pavel also does a big favour in the closing chapters, which describe his service in NATO, and, thus, functioning of this organization, its attitude towards different recent or actual conflicts. We can even say that a reader acquires two books at one stroke – a biography and a textbook of the global security policy.
Just two questions remain now: When a big foreign entertainment company shoots a picture about a rescue of the French contingent by an underestimated Czechoslovak unit? And when the memoires of General Peter Pavel can be issued at least in English translation for foreign readers?