The Hungarians: A Thousand Years of Victory in Defeat

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Princeton University Press, 3.04.2014 г. - 584 страници

The Hungarians is the most comprehensive, clear-sighted, and absorbing history ever of a legendarily proud and passionate but lonely people. Much of Europe once knew them as "child-devouring cannibals" and "bloodthirsty Huns." But it wasn't long before the Hungarians became steadfast defenders of the Christian West and fought heroic freedom struggles against the Tatars (1241), the Turks (16-18th centuries), and, among others, the Russians (1848-49 and 1956). Paul Lendvai tells the fascinating story of how the Hungarians, despite a string of catastrophes and their linguistic and cultural isolation, have survived as a nation-state for more than 1,000 years.

Lendvai, who fled Hungary in 1957, traces Hungarian politics, culture, economics, and emotions from the Magyars' dramatic entry into the Carpathian Basin in 896 to the brink of the post-Cold War era. Hungarians are ever pondering what being Hungarian means and where they came from. Yet, argues Lendvai, Hungarian national identity is not only about ancestry or language but also an emotional sense of belonging. Hungary's famous poet-patriot, Sándor Petofi, was of Slovak descent, and Franz Liszt felt deeply Hungarian though he spoke only a few words of Hungarian. Through colorful anecdotes of heroes and traitors, victors and victims, geniuses and imposters, based in part on original archival research, Lendvai conveys the multifaceted interplay, on the grand stage of Hungarian history, of progressivism and economic modernization versus intolerance and narrow-minded nationalism.

He movingly describes the national trauma inflicted by the transfer of the historic Hungarian heartland of Transylvania to Romania under the terms of the Treaty of Trianon in 1920--a trauma that the passing of years has by no means lessened. The horrors of Nazi and Soviet Communist domination were no less appalling, as Lendvai's restrained account makes clear, but are now part of history.

An unforgettable blend of eminent readability, vibrant humor, and meticulous scholarship, The Hungarians is a book without taboos or prejudices that at the same time offers an authoritative key to understanding how and why this isolated corner of Europe produced such a galaxy of great scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs.

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LibraryThing Review

Потребителски отзив  - Shrike58 - LibraryThing

To Paul Lendvai, the besetting sin of Hungarian culture is its "cult of history" and "the nationalistic sense of mission" that has resulted. This might be tolerable except for another unfortunate ... Прочетете пълната рецензия

LibraryThing Review

Потребителски отзив  - aevaughn - LibraryThing

It seems to provide a reasonable overview of Hungarian history. I did get lost in a sea of names however. Also, it is on the long side. Прочетете пълната рецензия


the Lost War of Independence 1849
Good and Bad in Sacrificial Mythology
23 Who was Captain Gusev? Russian Freedom Fighters between Minsk and Budapest
Austria and Hungary on the Road to Reconciliation
the Compromise and the Consequences of Dualism
The Hungarian Sense of Mission and the Nationalities
Modernization with Drawbacks
28 Magyar Jew or Jewish Magyar? A Unique Symbiosis

8 The Long Road to the Catastrophe of Mohács
9 The Disaster of Ottoman Rule
10 Transylvaniathe Stronghold of Hungarian Sovereignty
11 Gábor BethlenVassal Patriot and European
12 Zrinyi or Zrinski? One Hero for Two Nations
Adventurer or Traitor?
14 Ferenc Rákóczis Fight for Freedom from the Habsburgs
an Idol through the Ages
16 Hungary in the Habsburg Shadow
17 The Fight Against the Hatted King
18 Abbot Martinovics and the Jacobin Plot
the Greatest Hungarian
Symbols of 1848
29 Will Hungary be German or Magyar? The Germans Peculiar Role
the Red Count and Lenins Agent
Trianon and the Death Knell of St Stephens Realm
Hungary as Troublemaker in the Danube Basin
Triumph and Fall From the Persecution of Jews to Mob Rule
Geniuses and Artists
Chronology of Significant Events in Hungarian History
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Информация за автора (2014)

Paul Lendvai is a leading European journalist and a senior television commentator with ORF, the Austrian public broadcasting corporation. Since 1973 he has been editor in chief and copublisher of the Vienna-based international quarterly Europäische Rundschau. The recipient of numerous prizes for his writings and journalism, he is the author of ten books, including Blacklisted: A Journalist's Life in Central Europe (St. Martin's), Eagles in Cobwebs: Nationalism and Communism in the Balkans, and Anti-Semitism without the Jews: Communist Eastern Europe (both Doubleday).