Journey to a Revolution : A Personal Memoir and History of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956
The Hungarian Revolution of 1956 was not just an extraordinary and dramatic event--perhaps the most dramatic single event of the Cold War--but, as we can now see fifty years later, a major turning point in history. Here is an eyewitness account, in the tradition of George Orwell's Homage to Catalonia.
The spontaneous rising of Hungarian people against the Hungarian communist party and the Soviet forces in Hungary in the wake of Stalin's death, while ending unsuccessfully, demonstrated to the world at large the failure of Communism. The Russians were obliged to use force on a vast scale against armed students, factory workers, and intellectuals in the streets of a major European capital to restore the Hungarian communist party to power. For two weeks, students, women, and teenagers fought tanks in the streets of Budapest, in full view of the Western media--and therefore the world--and for a time they actually won, deeply humiliating the men who succeeded Stalin. The Russians eventually managed to extinguish the revolution with brute force and overwhelming numbers, but never again would they attempt to use military force on a large scale to suppress dissent in their Eastern European empire.
Told with brilliant detail, suspense, occasional humor, and sustained anger, Journey to a Revolution is at once history and a compelling memoir--the amazing story of four young Oxford undergraduates, including the author, who took off for Budapest in a beat-up old Volkswagen convertible in October 1956 to bring badly needed medicine to Budapest hospitals and to participate, at street level, in one of the great battles of postwar history. Michael Korda paints a vivid and richly detailed picture of the events and the people; explores such major issues as the extent to which the British and American intelligence services were involved in the uprising, making the Hungarians feel they could expect military support from the West; and describes, day by day, the course of the revolution, from its heroic beginnings to the sad martyrdom of its end.
Journey to a Revolution delivers "a harrowing and horrifying tale told in spare and poignant prose--sometimes bitter, sometimes ironic, always powerful."*
* Kirkus Reviews (starred)
In October 1956 the Hungarian people spontaneously rose up against an oppressive Soviet-imposed Communist regime and basked briefly in the light of freedom. In this history lesson-cum- memoir, Korda (Another Life) stitches an appealing retelling of his journey of discovery into the larger context of the desperate, short-lived Hungarian revolt. Part hard-nosed history lesson, part affectionate celebration of Hungary and Hungarian culture, and part sepia-tinged memoir, the book attempts to pull back the veil on the post-WWII machinations of the victorious Allies and expose how such diplomatic wheeling and dealing can devastate an entire nation. The first two-thirds are strong, with both a comprehensive overview of the postwar geopolitical scene and a finely tuned take on the specifics of the Hungarian situation. Korda's account of his own journey there during the revolution at age 24 is strangely flat. Along the way from the pastoral comfort of his native England to the rubble and corpse-strewn streets of Budapest, he has some near misses with life-threatening danger. At the border between Austria and Hungary, Korda and his mates encounter a machine gun-toting guard who offers them barack, homemade peach brandy, and a warning about the invading Russians: "there are some very bad guys in Gy�r." While the tale at times has difficulty rising from the page, Korda's story is a worthy read. (Oct.)
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
August 20, 2007
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.