The secret speech of this novel’s title refers to the address delivered by Nikita Khrushchev behind closed doors at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in February 1956. On the surface that sounds a pretty boring affair but the speech was unexpectedly dramatic and had widespread consequences.
This weighty volume comprises both studies and documents relating not to Cold War broadcasting in general but primarily to that of Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, with Voice of America occasionally getting a look in. Other broadcasters, such as the BBC or Deutsche Welle, do get mentioned but to a much lesser extent.
There will always be small groups of people, so dedicated to their ideas and so passionately feeling the misery of their homeland, that they will not think it a sacrifice to die for their cause. It’s impossible to frighten such people.
This is a short book. Its main text comprises less than 140 pages of well-spaced lines and in the very first sentence of the introduction the author admits it is “really an extended essay”. Nevertheless, it is dealing with a major theme and has a significant intention – to argue that Stalin’s mass killings of the 1930s should be classified as “genocide”.
Review: My Happy Days in Hell by György Faludy. Hungary wasn’t a pleasant place to be in the early 1950s. The period from 1949, following the consolidation of one-party rule, until 1953 and the death of Stalin, which led to political changes in Hungary and the first premiership of Imre Nagy, can be characterised as one of the darkest eras in the country’s traumatic 20th-century history. This was the time when Hungary really was a police state, when the night-time knock on the door could end with the disappearance of almost anybody – for almost any reason at all.
Review: Koestler: The Literary & Political Odyssey of a 20th-Century Skeptic by Michael Scammell. One of Budapest’s newest statues, unveiled last autumn, depicts the writer, novelist, polemicist, philosopher (and much more) Arthur Koestler, who was born in Budapest in 1905. The statue stands in Lövölde tér in District VI not far from Szív utca, where Koestler lived as a child. The monument shows him seated, leaning back on a clock face, which is broken in two. Koestler is looking down with a curious expression. It is an odd statue, simultaneously striking and intriguing – rather like the character of Koestler himself, as revealed in great detail by Michael Scammell’s new biography.
Review: Enemies of the People, My Family’s Journey to America by Kati Marton. Ilona and Endre Marton were middle-class Hungarian Jews who survived the Holocaust by relying on their wits and the help of Christian friends. They never talked about their experiences and it was only by chance that their daughter Kati eventually discovered that her maternal grandparents had perished at Auschwitz and had not been killed during the wartime bombing of Budapest, as she had been told.
E.ON launches Family Football Programme. Â BUDAPEST – With the professional support of Ottó Vincze – footballer and ambassador of the Family Football Programme – and the Hungarian Olympic Committee, E.ON Hungária Group launches a new football competition worth HUF 30 million gross.Â The competition now is putting emphasis on quality time spent together by families and invites sports clubs which are able and willing to house Family Football programmes to apply for a grant.