By Paul Lendvai
The Hungarians is the main entire, clear-sighted, and soaking up historical past ever of a legendarily proud and passionate yet lonely humans. a lot of Europe as soon as knew them as "child-devouring cannibals" and "bloodthirsty Huns." however it wasn't lengthy sooner than the Hungarians grew to become steadfast defenders of the Christian West and fought heroic freedom struggles opposed to the Tatars (1241), the Turks (16-18th centuries), and, between others, the Russians (1848-49 and 1956). Paul Lendvai tells the interesting tale of the way the Hungarians, regardless of a string of catastrophes and their linguistic and cultural isolation, have survived as a countryside for greater than 1,000 years.
Lendvai, who fled Hungary in 1957, lines Hungarian politics, tradition, economics, and feelings from the Magyars' dramatic access into the Carpathian Basin in 896 to the threshold of the post-Cold conflict period. Hungarians are ever puzzling over what being Hungarian skill and the place they got here from. but, argues Lendvai, Hungarian nationwide id isn't just approximately ancestry or language but additionally an emotional feel of belonging. Hungary's well-known poet-patriot, Sándor Petofi, used to be of Slovak descent, and Franz Liszt felt deeply Hungarian even though he spoke just a couple of phrases of Hungarian. via colourful anecdotes of heroes and traitors, victors and sufferers, geniuses and imposters, established partially on unique archival examine, Lendvai conveys the multifaceted interaction, at the grand level of Hungarian background, of progressivism and financial modernization as opposed to intolerance and narrow-minded nationalism.
He movingly describes the nationwide trauma inflicted by way of the move of the old Hungarian heartland of Transylvania to Romania lower than the phrases of the Treaty of Trianon in 1920--a trauma that the passing of years has under no circumstances lessened. The horrors of Nazi and Soviet Communist domination have been no much less appalling, as Lendvai's limited account makes transparent, yet are actually a part of history.
An unforgettable combination of eminent clarity, shiny humor, and meticulous scholarship, The Hungarians is a ebook with out taboos or prejudices that whilst deals an authoritative key to realizing how and why this remoted nook of Europe produced this type of galaxy of serious scientists, artists, and marketers.
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Extra resources for The Hungarians: A Thousand Years of Victory in Defeat
The imitation Soviet Poland had received its imitation Stalin. The new Poland had created its New Order. Polish Stalinism, December to October Just as the Stalinist Revolution of initiated the formative period in the creation of the modern Soviet Union, so Poland’s specially close association with the USSR in the final years of the Stalin Era left lasting marks on the Polish People’s Republic. And just as the Soviet Union, whilst condemning a careful selection of Stalin’s crimes against the Party, never attempted to reform or replace the main institutions of Stalin’s Russia, so the greatest part of the Stalinist innovations in Poland remained intact until .
The Polish People’s Republic ceased to be a puppet state, and became a client state. As a result of his understanding with the Soviets—sealed during his visit to Moscow in November —Gomułka was empowered to make a series of strategic concessions to popular demands and to permit the three specific features of the Polish order—an independent Catholic Church, a free peasantry, and a curious brand of bogus political pluralism. In retrospect, one can see that these concessions were intended as provisional measures which were to be withdrawn as soon as the PZPR felt strong enough to progress towards the more orthodox model of socialist society.
In December, most internees, though not political prisoners, were released. By this time Government spokesmen had begun to talk disparagingly of members as ‘criminals’, and to brag that ‘the Spring, too, will be ours’. Step by step, as the communists took stock of their miraculous escape, they tried to re-establish control over the organizations which had earlier repudiated them. Their main target, to begin with, was the intelligentsia, that incurable source, from their point of view, of festering dissent.