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One Day That Shook the Communist World by…

One Day That Shook the Communist World

by Paul Lendvai

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Paul Lendvai is a personal witness of the Hungarian revolution of 1956 who offers both the Hungarian insider's and the Financial Times Foreign Correspondent's outsider's perspective. His smooth narrative offers an excellent account of the events and the actors, only marred by his constant name-dropping of supposedly eminent Hungarians. A dramatis personae would also have been helpful, although a thorough index partly remedies this. The unplanned character of the revolution doomed its outcome. Only the control of the Hungarian army might have stopped the Soviets. Once the Soviets decided on a violent resolution, the insurgents did not stand a chance. Lendvai's account of Kadar's quick ruthless retribution which was followed by a general liberalization (an approach recommended by Machiavelli) explains the paradox that in a 2002 survey, the traitor Janos Kadar ranked 4th just behind his victim Imre Nagy in the ranking of favorite historical figures. In the first two places one finds two heroes of the 1848 revolution that was also crushed by the Russians. The Hungarians are truly unlucky in war and politics. Just like their Austrian brethren their true skills lie in food and music. ( )
  jcbrunner | Feb 2, 2011 |
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In memory of Imre Nagy, Pal Maleter, Geza Losonczy, Jozsef Szilagyi, Miklos Gimes, and all the executed who have sacrificed their lives in 1956-1961 for the freedom and independence of Hungary
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