Good Comrade: Janos Kadar, Communism and Hungary

Overview

Few political lives have been as dramatic, or as marked by sudden changes of fortune, as that of Janos Kadar. Was Kadar?Hungary's communist leader from 1956 to 1988?an ambitious, ruthless party functionary or a tragic visionary? In this, the first biography in English since the collapse of the Soviet bloc, Roger Gough paints a vivid picture of Kadar's personality and career, while analyzing his significance for Hungary and his place in the ...

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Overview

Few political lives have been as dramatic, or as marked by sudden changes of fortune, as that of Janos Kadar. Was Kadar—Hungary's communist leader from 1956 to 1988—an ambitious, ruthless party functionary or a tragic visionary? In this, the first biography in English since the collapse of the Soviet bloc, Roger Gough paints a vivid picture of Kadar's personality and career, while analyzing his significance for Hungary and his place in the history of European communism.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Roger Gough has written the most profound and revealing biography which has been devoted to any Communist leader in Cold War Europe. 'A Good Comrade?' is based on exhaustive research and reading. Some of the research is based on official Soviet or Hungarian files which were closed to historians until recently, but Gough has also patiently located and interviewed scores of Hungarian witnesses, and searched through the back archives of Hungarian newspapers and jourbanals....On every page, new information is carefully sourced, much of it demolishing the walls of half-truth and folk-lore which accumulated around Janos Kadar in his lifetime. But the strength of Gough's book is its vivid prose. The author disentangles complex strands of Party intrigue, but at the same time pulls out high literary skill to describe the gruesome, sometimes surreal ironies and tragedies of Kadar's career."—Neal Ascherson, jourbanalist and author of Stone Voices: The Search for Scotland, The Struggle for Poland and Black Sea

''A Kadar biography is successful if it does not try to defend the indefensible and can accurately reveal the difference between what was possible and what actually happened…Roger Gough’s intelligent book deals with these nuances superbly. He has consulted extensively the relevant Hungarian and foreign sources and conducted numerous interviews with key figures of the Kadar era on both sides. His account is not at all indifferent to the political and moral dilemmas that have, until recently impeded a fruitful discourse of the Kadar case, but his approach is always distance and even-tempered. This biography, written by an ‘outsider’ may help Hungarians to better understand their recent history and even ease their discomfort about a controversial period.''— Andras Mink, The Hungarian Quarterly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781845110581
  • Publisher: I. B.Tauris & Company, Limited
  • Publication date: 10/3/2006
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.43 (w) x 9.46 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Meet the Author

Roger Gough is a Research Fellow writing on international affairs for the think tank Policy Exchange.

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Table of Contents

A son of the Empire
Anti-Dühring
• Liquidator
• Salami
• 'You're the enemy's man'
• Full circle
• The apparat's pin-up
• Our glorious uprising
• Whirlwind
• The maggots of counter-revolution
• Foundations
• Khrushchev's apprentice
• Goulash
• 1968: The choice
• Crisis of confidence
• A worker's state
• Mitteleuropa Man
• Credit crunch
• Limits
• 'Those days are gone'
• Ghosts

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