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The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World

by

The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this ground-breaking book, acclaimed author Kati Marton brings to life an unknown chapter of World War II: the tale of nine men who grew up in Budapest's brief Golden Age, then, driven from Hungary by anti-Semitism, fled to the West, especially to the United States, and changed the world. These nine men, each celebrated for individual achievements, were actually part of a unique group who grew up in a time and place that will never come again. It is Marton's extraordinary achievement to trace what for a few dazzling years was common to all of them — the magic air of Budapest — and show how their separate lives and careers were, in fact, all shaped by Budapest's lively cafe life before the darkness closed in.

Marton follows the astonishing lives of four history-changing scientists, all just one step ahead of Hitler's terror state, who helped usher in the nuclear age and the computer (Edward Teller, John von Neumann, Leo Szilard, and Eugene Wigner); two major movie myth-makers (Michael Curtiz, who directed Casablanca, and Alexander Korda, who produced The Third Man); two immortal photographers (Robert Capa and Andre Kertesz); and one seminal writer (Arthur Koestler, Darkness at Noon).

Marton follows these brilliant products of Budapest's Golden Age as they flee fascism in the 1920s and 1930s en route to sanctuary — and immortality. As the scientists labor in the secret city of Los Alamos in the race to build the atom bomb, Koestler, once a communist agent imprisoned by Franco, writes the most important anticommunist novel of the century. Capa, the first photographer to go ashore on D-Day, later romances Ingrid Bergman and is acknowledged as the world's greatestwar photographer before his tragic death in Vietnam. Curtiz not only gives us Casablanca, consistently voted the greatest romantic movie ever made, but also discovers Doris Day and directs James Cagney in the quintessential patriotic film, Yankee Doodle Dandy.

Ultimately, The Great Escape is an American story and an important, previously untold chapter of the tumultuous last century. Yet it is also a poignant story — in the words of the great historian Fritz Stern, an evocation of genius in exile...an instructive, moving delight. An epilogue relates the journey into exile of three members of the next generation of Budapest exiles: financier-philanthropist George Soros, Intel founder Andy Grove, and 2002 Nobel laureate in literature Imre Kertesz.

Review:

"Noted journalist and bestselling author Marton (Hidden Power) offers a haunting tale of the wartime Hungarian diaspora. The nine illustrious Hungarians she profiles were all 'double outsiders,' for, as well as being natives of a 'small, linguistically impenetrable, landlocked country,' they were all Jews. Fleeing fascism and anti-Semitism for the New World, each experienced insecurity, isolation and a sense of perpetual exile. Yet all achieved world fame. The scientists Leo Szilard, Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner, along with game theorist and computer pioneer, John von Neuman, spurred Albert Einstein to persuade Franklin Roosevelt to develop the atomic bomb. Robert Capa and Andre Kertesz became legendary photojournalists. Alexander Korda was the savior of the British film industry, and Michael Curtiz directed Casablanca. Arthur Koestler penned the monumental anti-Communist novel Darkness at Noon. Marton intricately charts each man's career in the context of WWII and Cold War history. Herself Hungarian-born, the daughter of journalists who escaped Soviet-occupied Hungary in 1957, Marton captures her fellow Hungarians' nostalgia for prewar Budapest, evoking its flamboyant cafes, its trams, boulevards and cosmopolitan Jewish community. Marton writes beautifully, balancing sharply defined character studies of each man with insights into their shared cultural traits and uprootedness. 16 pages of photos, map. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright © Reed Business Information)

Review:

"Noted journalist and bestselling author Marton (Hidden Power) offers a haunting tale of the wartime Hungarian diaspora. The nine illustrious Hungarians she profiles were all 'double outsiders,' for, as well as being natives of a 'small, linguistically impenetrable, landlocked country,' they were all Jews. Fleeing fascism and anti-Semitism for the New World, each experienced insecurity, isolation and a sense of perpetual exile. Yet all achieved world fame. The scientists Leo Szilard, Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner, along with game theorist and computer pioneer, John von Neuman, spurred Albert Einstein to persuade Franklin Roosevelt to develop the atomic bomb. Robert Capa and Andre Kertesz became legendary photojournalists. Alexander Korda was the savior of the British film industry, and Michael Curtiz directed Casablanca. Arthur Koestler penned the monumental anti-Communist novel Darkness at Noon. Marton intricately charts each man's career in the context of WWII and Cold War history. Herself Hungarian-born, the daughter of journalists who escaped Soviet-occupied Hungary in 1957, Marton captures her fellow Hungarians' nostalgia for prewar Budapest, evoking its flamboyant cafes, its trams, boulevards and cosmopolitan Jewish community. Marton writes beautifully, balancing sharply defined character studies of each man with insights into their shared cultural traits and uprootedness. 16 pages of photos, map." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"In his wonderful book 'Danube,' a discursive, literary and historical journey downstream, the Italian writer Claudio Magris rightly called Budapest the most beautiful city on the whole river. Its story has also been fascinating and deeply troubled: While fin de siecle Vienna has become something of a standby for cultural commentators, Budapest had just as vivid a tale to tell. And, in either... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Kati Marton's wonderful book celebrates what is glorious and eternal in the human condition." Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and Professor of Humanities, Boston University

Review:

"Just when you thought you'd heard all the stories about World War II, along comes The Great Escape, a great read and a long overdue account of the remarkable lives of a small band of greatly gifted Hungarians who made profoundly important contributions to the American effort. Kati Marton tells this astonishing story with grace and passion, a sharp eye for the telling detail and the broad sweep of history." Tom Brokaw, author of The Greatest Generation

Review:

"Kati Marton captures beautifully the genius and flair, as well as the insecurity and essential loneliness, of nine brilliant Jewish refugees from Hungary. Not only is this great biography, it gives a touching insight into human nature and the wellsprings of creative ambition." Walter Isaacson, author of Benjamin Franklin

Review:

"Hungarians, those men from Mars, escaped west in the years before World War II and gave us great scientists, filmmakers, photographers, and engineers. Kati Marton's lively, engaging group portrait recovers for us the lives and work of the extraordinary men who invented Hollywood and the atomic bomb." Richard Rhodes, author of The Making of the Atomic Bomb

Review:

"In this insightful, moving, and deftly researched book, Kati Marton writes about nine Hungarians whose experiences are a prism through which we can see the quest and ultimate triumph of humanity seeking the right to dream and the freedom to create." Vartan Gregorian, President, Carnegie Corporation of New York

Review:

"Marton, who fled Hungary as a child in 1957, illuminates Budapest's vertiginous Golden Age and the darkness that followed (a darkness that some of her subjects, notably Arthur Koestler, never shook)." The New Yorker

Review:

"...Marton...offers a competently written treatise that is light on theory but long on description......More a nicely assembled collection of anecdotes than a sustained narrative." Kirkus Reviews

Synopsis:

From the author of Hidden Power comes the story of the breathtaking journey of nine extraordinary men from Budapest to the New World, what they experienced along their dangerous route, and how they changed America and the world.

About the Author

Kati Marton, an award-winning former NPR and ABC News correspondent, is the author of Hidden Power: Presidential Marriages That Shaped Our History, a New York Times bestseller, as well as Wallenberg, The Polk Conspiracy, A Death in Jerusalem, and a novel, An American Woman. Mother of a son and a daughter, she lives in New York with her husband, Richard Holbrooke.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION * MAGIC IN THEIR POCKETS
PART ONE * PLENTY
PART TWO * HARVEST AT TWILIGHT
PART THREE * DARKNESS
PART FOUR * FALSE DAWN

EPILOGUE
NOTES
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INDEX

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743261159
Subtitle:
Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World
Author:
Marton, Kati
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Subject:
History
Subject:
Modern - 20th Century
Subject:
Jews
Subject:
Eastern Europe - General
Subject:
General History
Subject:
Jewish - General
Subject:
Jews - Hungary - Budapest
Subject:
Jews, Hungarian - United States
Copyright:
Publication Date:
October 2006
Binding:
Hardcover
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
271
Dimensions:
9.25 x 6.125 in

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Ethnic Studies » European American
History and Social Science » World History » Holocaust
Religion » Judaism » Jews in America

The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.50 In Stock
Product details 271 pages Simon & Schuster - English 9780743261159 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Noted journalist and bestselling author Marton (Hidden Power) offers a haunting tale of the wartime Hungarian diaspora. The nine illustrious Hungarians she profiles were all 'double outsiders,' for, as well as being natives of a 'small, linguistically impenetrable, landlocked country,' they were all Jews. Fleeing fascism and anti-Semitism for the New World, each experienced insecurity, isolation and a sense of perpetual exile. Yet all achieved world fame. The scientists Leo Szilard, Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner, along with game theorist and computer pioneer, John von Neuman, spurred Albert Einstein to persuade Franklin Roosevelt to develop the atomic bomb. Robert Capa and Andre Kertesz became legendary photojournalists. Alexander Korda was the savior of the British film industry, and Michael Curtiz directed Casablanca. Arthur Koestler penned the monumental anti-Communist novel Darkness at Noon. Marton intricately charts each man's career in the context of WWII and Cold War history. Herself Hungarian-born, the daughter of journalists who escaped Soviet-occupied Hungary in 1957, Marton captures her fellow Hungarians' nostalgia for prewar Budapest, evoking its flamboyant cafes, its trams, boulevards and cosmopolitan Jewish community. Marton writes beautifully, balancing sharply defined character studies of each man with insights into their shared cultural traits and uprootedness. 16 pages of photos, map. (Nov.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright © Reed Business Information)
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Noted journalist and bestselling author Marton (Hidden Power) offers a haunting tale of the wartime Hungarian diaspora. The nine illustrious Hungarians she profiles were all 'double outsiders,' for, as well as being natives of a 'small, linguistically impenetrable, landlocked country,' they were all Jews. Fleeing fascism and anti-Semitism for the New World, each experienced insecurity, isolation and a sense of perpetual exile. Yet all achieved world fame. The scientists Leo Szilard, Edward Teller and Eugene Wigner, along with game theorist and computer pioneer, John von Neuman, spurred Albert Einstein to persuade Franklin Roosevelt to develop the atomic bomb. Robert Capa and Andre Kertesz became legendary photojournalists. Alexander Korda was the savior of the British film industry, and Michael Curtiz directed Casablanca. Arthur Koestler penned the monumental anti-Communist novel Darkness at Noon. Marton intricately charts each man's career in the context of WWII and Cold War history. Herself Hungarian-born, the daughter of journalists who escaped Soviet-occupied Hungary in 1957, Marton captures her fellow Hungarians' nostalgia for prewar Budapest, evoking its flamboyant cafes, its trams, boulevards and cosmopolitan Jewish community. Marton writes beautifully, balancing sharply defined character studies of each man with insights into their shared cultural traits and uprootedness. 16 pages of photos, map." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Kati Marton's wonderful book celebrates what is glorious and eternal in the human condition."
"Review" by , "Just when you thought you'd heard all the stories about World War II, along comes The Great Escape, a great read and a long overdue account of the remarkable lives of a small band of greatly gifted Hungarians who made profoundly important contributions to the American effort. Kati Marton tells this astonishing story with grace and passion, a sharp eye for the telling detail and the broad sweep of history."
"Review" by , "Kati Marton captures beautifully the genius and flair, as well as the insecurity and essential loneliness, of nine brilliant Jewish refugees from Hungary. Not only is this great biography, it gives a touching insight into human nature and the wellsprings of creative ambition."
"Review" by , "Hungarians, those men from Mars, escaped west in the years before World War II and gave us great scientists, filmmakers, photographers, and engineers. Kati Marton's lively, engaging group portrait recovers for us the lives and work of the extraordinary men who invented Hollywood and the atomic bomb."
"Review" by , "In this insightful, moving, and deftly researched book, Kati Marton writes about nine Hungarians whose experiences are a prism through which we can see the quest and ultimate triumph of humanity seeking the right to dream and the freedom to create."
"Review" by , "Marton, who fled Hungary as a child in 1957, illuminates Budapest's vertiginous Golden Age and the darkness that followed (a darkness that some of her subjects, notably Arthur Koestler, never shook)."
"Review" by , "...Marton...offers a competently written treatise that is light on theory but long on description......More a nicely assembled collection of anecdotes than a sustained narrative."
"Synopsis" by , From the author of Hidden Power comes the story of the breathtaking journey of nine extraordinary men from Budapest to the New World, what they experienced along their dangerous route, and how they changed America and the world.
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