Synopses & Reviews
Despite its relatively small size, Hungary has shown remarkable resilience in its long and difficult history, resisting hostile neighbors and the pressures of two massive neighboring empires. Subjected to invasion, occupation, and frequent historical tragedy, the country has nevertheless survived and even flourished, becoming a stable, sovereign democratic republic with a seat in the European Union.
Drawing on his experiences as ambassador to Hungary during the declining years of J?nos K?d?r's communist regime, Bryan Cartledge recreates a rich portrait of the country's political, economic, and cultural development. Spanning eleven hundred years, his account begins with the arrival of the Magyars in the ninth century and concludes with the acceptance of Hungary into NATO and the EU. Cartledge recounts Hungary's medieval greatness and its defeats at the hands of the Mongols, Turks, and Nazis. He revisits the nation's unsuccessful struggle for independence and the massive deprivations it suffered after the First World War. He also investigates Hungary's disastrous alliance with the Nazis, motivated by a hope for political redress. Cartledge provides startling insight into the experience of Soviet-imposed communism, which culminated in the brutally suppressed revolution of 1956. Exploiting his intimate knowledge of Hungary and its rich archival sources, he explains how a country can lose almost every war it has engaged in and still forge ahead stronger than before.