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

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

by Kati Marton
4.3 41

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Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 41 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The introduction to The Great Escape by Kati Marton makes it seem like the book is going to be about World War II, one of the most interesting subjects to read about, but instead Marton describes and focuses more on the lives of nine men that lived during this period and who made great contributions to the world. The group of men consisted of Edward Teller, Leo Szilard, and Eugeane Wigner, who were scientists, John von Neumann, dealt with computers, Alex Korda and Michael Curtis, film directors, Arthur Koestler, a writer, and Andre Kertesz and Robert Capa who were photographers. Fleeing their homes in Hungary and escaping Hitler and the Nazis by moving around to different countries, made these men brave and enabled to use their intelligence to the fullest. It is unbelievable that these men came from a little town developing their ideas in cafes, and were able to make some of the greatest contributions to society, which has marked their names in history books forever. Such contributions consist of the Hydrogen Bomb, computers, war photography, and famous films like Casablanca and Yankee Doodle Yankee. Skipping around from one person to another makes it difficult to understand which biography Marton is talking about. She will, for example, take a few pages to describe Edward Teller, the scientist of the Hydrogen Bomb, and then she will jump to Alex Korda, a film director. Even though the author moves around constantly about whom she is writing about, it was interesting to learn about the courageous men, who escaped Nazism, only to achieve great things in their lifetime for Americans and not even for their own people. Kati Marton shows the struggle and dangers that the men went through to achieve their goals. Being thrown in jail in a foreign country, and being killed on the battlefield are only a couple of examples of the hard times these people went through. One part of the book makes you really feel how these characters felt throughout theses times, which is when Robert Capa had taken an entire role of film of war photos and had his nervous assistant develop and ruin them. This showed that all of the hard work and dangers that Capa had put into is job, were ruined by an incompetent assistant. Another instance that makes you feel for these men is that their whole lives consisted of running away from home, helping the U.S. with nuclear science, or film directing for the U.S. elite, when in the end all the men wanted was to be back in their hometown in Hungary. It showed that no matter what you do in life or where you go, home is where the heart is. On a less serious note this is also portrayed through Doctor Strangelove in the film Dr. Strangelove. He was in the U.S. to help the army with the situation with Russia, but one can tell by the language and his possessed hand, that he is German at heart even if he does live and help the U.S. I grew up and lived in Pennsylvania for eighteen years and then moved to Miami to go to school. I love Miami, but nothing is better then going home, to my little town, and relaxing with my family.
Tennesseedog More than 1 year ago
A very good collection of stories regarding nine Jews who fled from the turmoil of Nazi occupied Europe, particularly from Hungary, during the first four decades of the Twentieth Century. The stories of these individuals are melded into an exquisite narrative by author Marton and the continuity she creates makes the reading exciting and astonishing. Coming from different backgrounds and from different times in the early part of the century, their Jewishness, their intellect and their desires for something better, all combine to make their stories similar yet very different. It was wonderful to read the life history and exposition of the career and accomplishments of such men as Arthur Koestler, Alexander Korda, Michael Curtiz, Edward Teller, Leo Szilard, Robert Capa, John von Neumann, Andre Kertesz and Eugene Wigner. These diverse individuals, physicists, mathematician, photographers and film producer and director, all have amazing and gripping stories of their lives under fascist regimes, starving and conniving to live and be successful. They all went to foreign lands to escape the turmoil and murder in their homeland. In those foreign lands they made careers, money and fame. This volume is a great read and the author has done an impressive job informing the world of these challenged but ultimately heroic citizens of the world. I do have a singular problem with Marton providing information and approbation for other Hungarians who left their homeland in a later era than the nine individuals profiled in the main emphasis of her book and have succeeded in their endeavors. Her mention of George Sorros and his accomplishments neglects to mention his Nazi involvement during the Second World War or her lavish praise of his Open Society Institute not indicating that Sorros has used this vehicle to encourage his view of a New World Order. To accomplish this plan he has incited turmoil within sovereign nations through the funneling of millions of dollars to often violent and disruptive elements all while masquerading his financing as philanthropic works. This work of Marton's predates the recent American election in which Sorros-paid agitators clashed with and disrupted rallies and speeches by Republican candidate Trump. I doubt if Kati Marton finds that kind of "philanthropic" work as worthy of praise.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was glued to this book. It covers the wonderful refugees of Hungary, the great minds...Koestler, Capa, Teller, Oppenheimer, etc. It covers the time when Hitler was making his move in Europe to invade Hungary, Poland, etc. These men we learn about helped shape our world, they helped develope the Manhattan Project. I want to next read "Darkness at Noon" by Arthur Koestler. Please, do yourself a favor and read this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even as a Hungarian, I have not known many of the details Kati Marton shares with the reader in the book. I have learnt not only of the lives and the achievements of these illustrious fellow citizens of mine , but of the life and ambiance in general in this era. I think the book is of interest of anyone who has ever have heard of these brave men who received the highest award for their knowledge, their art, their efforts in opening paths for the future generations, facing dangers and difficulties on their road to fame. is For Hungarians,in or out of the country at present, of any religion, I think this is a MUST, to connect them with their own past. A very enjoyable read also, due to Kati Marton's excellent and easy style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I purchased this book for my Dad, the man who has everything and buys everything for himself. Mostly, gifts I give him do not excite him, but this book did. His background is pure Hungarian, so he found everything about the writing and research interesting and engaging. Yet, a reader doesn't have to be Hungarian to find this book a good read. My Dad shared stories from the book and they held my attention. What the people went through in this book is amazing, especially because they lived through so much, and not only succeeded in their lives, but had an impact on the world. Now that my Dad is done with the book, I want to read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
'The Great Escape: nine Jews who fled Hitler and changed the world' by Kati Marton is a book about a fellowship of men that are tied together by the fallen glory of their home, the shadows of their past, and by the brightness of their futures. The men themselves are an interesting mix of photographers, scientists, movie makers, and a writer that in one way or another all left their mark on the world that can be felt even now years after their actions. Their home, the then almost utopian Budapest, acts as almost a tenth character for the book the city is portrayed as grand, wondrous, and ultimately tragic. The opening is ironic in its delivery it tells of two men who get lost while driving on an unpaved road then casually mentions how their trip will affect history as one knows it. The book, frequently, makes light of the impact of the actions of the characters then strongly illustrate the severity of them. The story also tends to gloss over certain facts or events then focus more heavily on others. At times, the book seems to have some difficultly dealing with weight of so many characters over a long period time. Overall the book has this back and forth rhythm that results in rough transitions that make for a less than smooth read but can be found as refreshing for the reader that is looking for something challenging and different to read. The whole of the book is an unusual mix of novel and textbook. The main purpose of the book is get the facts across and tell the stories of these men, but the book was also clearly determined to keep the readers awake long enough for them to get all the facts. There was the occasional splash of humor, hope, despair, love, and shear tenacity that allows the reader to empathize with the story and its characters more than simply absorb it. The ending of the book is not of one of death as would be expected as the book is one about real life people, who as all people no matter how great, must eventually die. It is one of hope, slightly cynical and jaded hope but hope nonetheless. New people are introduced, people with similar backgrounds that also fled from Budapest, people who may in a way carry on the work of the original nine. Mostly, the ending is about Budapest and the possibility of it ever raising from its ashes and once giving birth to more people that will change the world. If you¿re looking for an action-packed page turner, then do not pick up this book. If you are looking for a heart-wrenching romance with a happy ending, then do not pick up this book. This book is about loss, fear, facts, and life there is no riding off into the sunset in this book, no pretty words. This book is about nine men who ran for their lives. They all went out into the world they wrote books, they took pictures, they made movies, they made weapons, and they all did something.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Great Escape, by Kati Marton, chronicles the impressive and inspirational stories of nine Hungarian Jews who became world-renowned in their fields despite great challenges while living in and then fleeing Hungary ¿ a country with long, up-and-down, and tortured history. With this fascinating setting and the remarkable lives of these men, you¿d think, this would be an amazingly entertaining book. I am not the type to be interested in reading history books at leisure ¿ but this book was assigned reading, so I gave it a shot. Unfortunately, I found it nearly impossible to focus on what I was reading for more than 5 minutes. You see, I much more appreciate fiction books with lots of imagery, dialogue, action and/or mystery and/or suspense (perhaps I watch too many movies). The introduction, I think, was the best part of the book. It had the general facts on the accomplishments of these men and of the country and time period from which these men came from - in a nice, concise manner. From what is written in the introduction, you get the whole picture of the significance of the accomplishments of the nine men and the struggles they faced as Hungarian Jews in the time of Adolf Hitler. After the introduction, reading it was nothing but a chore to me. Had the writing been a little more vibrant, I may have found it easier to get fully entrenched in the book, but as it was I just couldn¿t get interested. However, I understand that much of my distaste for the book stems from my distaste for the genre. In fact, I believe that the author did a pretty solid job considering what she was trying to accomplish. In sharing with the reader the incredible journey of these nine incredible men, Kati Marton shows us the resiliency of the human spirit, and human beings¿ not only ability to survive trying times, but to make lasting impacts on the world. The nine Jews followed in the story were Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, Edward Teller, John von Neumann, Michael Curtiz, Alexander Korda, Andre Kertesz, Robert Capa, and Arthur Koestler. Szilard, Wigner, Teller and von Neumann were scientists who were major contributors to the nuclear computer fields. Michael Curtiz, who directed ¿Casablanca,¿ among other classics, and Alexander Korda, the first film director ever knighted, each made huge impacts on the film industry. Kertesz and Capa were influential photographers and photojournalists. Arthur Koestler was an author, with the book Darkness at Noon to his credit. There is no denying the incredible achievement made by these nine men, who were outcasts as Hungarians and, doubly, as Jews. It is pleasing to know that these men achieved recognition and that their stories could be told and continue to be told almost 70 years after the time those scientists sought Albert Einstein and then Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Their ambition and perseverance are truly inspirational. Despite my initially negative commentary on the book, I would recommend this book to anyone who can appreciate a historically accurate non-fiction book on the particular subject at hand. I might also recommend this book to my Hungarian Jewish friends, if I had any.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Enthralling, insightful and hard to put down describes the plot of The Great Escape. Not a fan of biographical writing, I find myself in shock after reading over 200 pages of a biographical text and discovering I wanted to continue. Impressive, indeed, is the story of these ¿nine Jews who fled Hitler and changed the world.¿ From scientists to photographers, Kati Marton tells the story of several individuals who impacted the world in enormous ways, yet not much recognition was given to them. Everyone remembers Albert Einstein for the Manhattan Project, but what about those great minds which were even more involved than Einstein himself? We all remember The Great Dictator, but would it have been made, if it was not for Alexander Korda¿s telling Chaplin that he should make a movie satirical to Hitler¿s persona since they were similar in appearance? Although dull at moments, Marton executes an ingenious performance in depicting a pulsating pre-War ambiance of Europe and the United States. Yet, she does not diverge from the great minds: Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, John von Neumann, and Eugene Wigner, four scientists whose desire to see an oppression-free society led to their involvement in the creation of the nuclear bomb for the United states: Arthur Koestler, author of Darkness at Noon Robert Capa and Andre Kertesz, war photographers etc. With Marton¿s insights of these individuals, the plot manifests itself as an academy-winning picture. Once Marton finishes the introduction of the characters¿quantum physics being a bit boring at times¿drinking a glass of warm milk is the only rest you want to have. The plot reflects the plot of your weekly TV shows: every sentence a scene and every ending period an annoying commercial. As you flow through the book, attaching to any one character becomes most difficult. All the characters have influenced humanity enormously: Szilard¿s eureka von Neumann¿s elegant calculations Capa¿s daring pictures. Even though the Manhattan Project is the most awaited part of the story, ruling out the other characters would be committing a sin. Capa¿s last scene, taking pictures during the battle at the beaches, shakes the floor in which the reader stands. As Ernest Hemingway said, 'all you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence you know.' With The Great Escape, Marton found her true sentence, which includes even more face-lifting sentences like Arthur Koestler¿s journey in writing Darkness at Noon. The Great Escape, although not your usual book, will give you a new perspective in history and a different point of view in what could have been the greatest discovery in history up to now. Coming from a non-enthusiast in the realm of biographical writings, The Great Escape is an excellent read. The content is superb, knowledge enriching, and summarily apt at changing our perspective of history. William Faulkner once said ¿you must always know the past, for there is no real Was, there is only Is.¿ If these men¿s tales would not be told, hearts would ¿beat on with a muffled sound.¿
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Great escape by Kati Marton shows what passion, will, and determination did for nine brave souls who dared to defy evil and begin a life away from the home that gave them all their talents, Budapest. The biography of these men and how they survived to become pillars of science, entertainment, and art is truly a blinding light of hope and what we as a society can expect in the future. The readers follow the lives of Alexander Korda, Micheal Curtiz, Andre Kertesz, Robert Capa, Arthur Koestler, John Von Neumann, Eugene Wigner, Edward Teller and Leo Szilard those are names of real people who were lucky enough to survive the catastrophe of war and anti-Semitism. Theses men knew nothing of survival during wartime they were not soldiers and were in any way prepared to go through the ordeal of losing their homeland to Nazis and traveling virtually half way around the world to be safe. Some may think that it was an easy task, but it must be considered that these are the same men that made it an easy task to enjoy some of the comforts we have today such as nuclear power and computer just to name a few. The readers can find a hero in any of these gentlemen. Koestler and his bravery to speak his mind in the face of imprisonment, Capa being courageous enough to be in the middle of warzones photographing knowing that death lurks behind every street corner some may enjoy Kertesz and his ability to capture beauty and peace in every shot of his camera. There are many reasons to feel for any of these men, but the most potent being the loss of their hometown of Budapest. All of them decided what they wanted to be in the bars and cafes that populate this Hungarian hub. The reader can truly understand and feel their heart fill with sorrow when these men came to the realization that they may not be able to return home. In modern times, many cultures have experienced similar situations ranging from communist Cuba, war torn Iraq, or fleeing Haiti¿s poverty and civil war. No person should have to face persecution on the ground they were born on, but none ever leave their ¿Budapest¿ behind. Curtiz for example showed what a Hungarian café was like in his most famous of films Casablanca. World War two will still live in infamy as the time we lost the most, but in return we have gain these nine men and much more. Any person can enjoy this book just from the time line it is based upon, any person who has experienced any type of homesickness, persecution, loss or just being down on your luck will smile with glee knowing that these men faced the greatest threat the world has seen and escaped it¿s claws to find home and new beginnings in America.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading this book, I was at awe normally reading history is a bore, but, Kati Marton had out done herself. She painted the past beautifully. It was not at all a snore. To me, it was a jaw-dropping book, full of life. I was riveted each step of the way. Unlike most Americans, these men were intellectual figures that were self-discipined and cohesively changed our world. Every one of the nine men brought culture and knowledge to our lands and as a result, our land had prosper. These men were in sync. So, if you want to learn some history, read Kati Marton's The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In her book The Great Escape, Kati Marton describes the lives of nine Jews who leave or ¿escape¿ Hungary from Hitler in search of a life without prosecution. The significance of these nine individuals is that their work, from physics to film directing and writing to photography all influenced society in a number of ways. Marton first begins with a brief account of the nine Jews in Budapest¿s Golden Age. She then goes on to discuss how they were all influenced by the city¿s lively café life before darkness came to Europe. This darkness was Hitler and Eichmann. These men created a terror state for any Jew or non-Aryan race. Because of these men many Jews changed their name and moved around city to city in an attempt to avoid the mass killings occurring in many regions of Europe. This was the reality of WWII. In narrating these horrific times, Marton describes the lives of these nine Hungarian men. Throughout the book she carelessly switches from character to character leaving the reader to recall the specific details of each man. Adding to that, with a lack of organization, Marton seemed to continuously jump around from time period to time period. In addition, while reading the book I constantly found myself lost and trying to piece together the missing information, like pieces of a puzzle. In a time of constant prosecution these nine Jews escaped death and changed the world. Beneath its¿ surface, this book begs many questions. Would the world be the same without these Hungarian men? Was what they contributed so important? And how did they overcome such overwhelming circumstances? The answer to these questions lies with the individual, but all nine gave something back to the world. After reading this book I wondered, how would it truly be like to live in a land where you must change your name and traditions in order to survive. A world where if you¿re not a particular race you will either be moved from your home, forced to work in a concentration camp, or worse off, murdered. These nine men overcame that reality and made something of themselves, and in doing so changed the world in their own particular way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Great Escape by Kati Marton tells a tale a nine Hungarian Jews who were forced to flee their homeland, but would become some of the most influential people in history. They were all pioneers and masters of their field of expertise. Edward Teller was a physicist who fathered the hydrogen bomb, Leo Szilard and Eugene Wigner award winning nuclear physicists, as well as key cogs in the success of the Manhattan Project, and Jon VonNeumann, also a physicist, helped pioneer what would become the computers of today. All four of these men played vital roles in making the United States the foremost nuclear power during World War II and maintaining that dominance through the Cold War era. Then there was Alex Korda, a film director known for remaking himself as a success again and again. Andre Kertesz was a photographer whose photographs were unlike anyone else of his time. Another photographer, Robert Capa specialized in war photography Capa rode alongside the first American troops to storm the beaches of Normandy. Arthur Koestler, a writer, became one of the most recognized and outspoken anti-communist writers. Lastly there was Michael Curtiz, a world-renowned film director, directing movies such as Casablanca and Yankee Doodle Dandy. Sadly, all of these men who always had fond memories of their homeland, Hungary, were never capable of building a career or a life there because of the dangers caused by things beyond their control. Many of them spent their lives traveling from one country to another in search of safety but also yearning for that sense of ¿home¿. The way in which they had to uproot their entire lives and start over again in new places, Paris, Great Britain, and America, just to name a few is depressing. The Hungarians spent much of their lives feeling either out of place or unhappy with their surroundings. The book itself can at times be hard to follow because of the way it is structured. It is written in chronological order, and follows the lives of all nine men. It leaps from one man to the other while telling the story of all their lives simultaneously. When reading the book, it was helpful to distinguish one person from the other by relating their name to a profession and whichever country they were presently living in. The way that the Great Escape was written does not promote excitement or suspense like what would be found in a fictional story, but once the reader gets into the book and into these men¿s lives, he or she will not want to stop reading. They have all done so many great things that will be remembered forever, and lived lives unlike anyone else. They traveled from country to the next, escaped execution, and many times called a different hotel each week their place of residence. The excitement that these nine men experienced everyday of their lives is more exciting than most stories the best fictional author could come up with.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Great Escape by Kati Marton describes nine Jews who were able to escape and make a difference in the outcome of World War II. These Budapest scientists such as Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, and Eugene Wigner all contributed in defeating Hitler and his Nazi regime. They felt it was in their utmost interest in deterring the Axis Powers from becoming victorious in this war. They did so by notifying Washington of the German¿s intention of creating an atomic bomb and wiping out the United States off the face of the Earth. However, the Germans were too slow in creating the atomic bomb because these Hungarian scientists were among the most skillful, in the Manhattan Project, to help build the hydrogen bombs, and put an end to this horrific war. It was because of these scientists why a person such as me, a Hispanic, is capable of writing this review today. If Szilard, Teller, and Wigner, would have never contributed to the Allies triumph in World War II, Hispanics, blacks, Jews, homosexuals, etc. may have been exterminated by the Nazi¿s genocide. Hence, the nine Jews who fled from anti-Semitism helped change the world. John von Neuman, developer of the electronic computer and the Game Theory, filmmakers Michael Curtiz and Alexander Korda, author Arthur Koestler, photographers Robert Capa and Andre Kertesz are the other commendable Hungarians described by Kati Marton. In their own unique way, they all helped warn the world of Hitler¿s malevolence. The one particular person who interested me the most was director Michael Curtiz. He grew up in Budapest where everyone had their own particular dreams and valued ¿learning, education, and culture¿ (p. 17). He owned a café called ¿New York.¿ A café with this name says it all. It gives people a sense of freedom and liberty to think, write, or do whatever they please. And all this was done in his café. When Germans started turning Europe into Nazism, he fled from home to America. This dream became reality as he directed arguably the best romantic film ever in Hollywood, ¿Casablanca.¿ This film symbolized the Americans isolationism with World War II as Lisbon tried remaining neutral throughout the film. Later he would say ¿that I am living ¿ not surrounded by American mansions ¿ but gazing at the hour hand of the clock at the New York Café, through the mist, at dawn¿ (p. 15). Even though the Germans had temporarily taken over his homeland, they cannot take over their dreams, beliefs, and their role in shaping the Nazi¿s defeat. Kati Marton did a fascinating job in praising these individuals for their efforts in making the difference during World War II. It makes me grateful to think God was on our side to bring these heroes with the power, intelligence, and determination to defeat the Germans and have their marks resting in history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The first thought after reading the Great Escape was that I was cheated. I mean the title was The Great Escape: The story of nine Jews who fled Hitler and changed the world, so I was expecting some sort of actual escape. A physical escape from some sort of jail or concentration camp. But it was nine different stories of nine different people escaping poverty, racism, and going for their dreams. In retrospect, all nine people were connected. They were all Hungarian and all used to meet and greet at a café, where they would exchanged ideas and information. Even though all nine were involved in different careers from scientists, photographers, poets, and movie director all nine had to leave their homeland and pursuit their calling. Furthermore I guess the title says it all, all nine did somehow change the face of the 20th century. The one person that stuck out my in mind was Robert Capa. Robert Capa is considered by many the greatest war photographer of all of time. His photo of The Fallen Soldier still is striking almost 80 years after it was taken. The timing of that photo is so precise that some believe that it was staged. Robert Capa no doubly did change the world of photography and my opinion had a positive change on the world. But other did not have such positive change on the world. John Von Newman and the other scientists mention in this book were without question brilliant men. But there research and advancement in science lead to the development of the Atomic bomb. Even thought I know it was not their intent to development a bomb that will in the end, kill hundreds of thousands of people, that was the end result. Furthermore I know that many of them did not agree with the actually dropping of the bomb but none the less they did contribute to the development of the bomb. Even though this was not a positive change in my opinion it was change that forever affected mankind. I don¿t think it¿s entirely their fault, I think they might have felt that they were on the brink of a great discovery but in they ended up killing what they were trying to save. We don¿t always hear this type of stories coming out of World War II. We are used to hearing the story of fallen soldiers or the victory of a great battle. But this book is different none of these people mention in the book fired a single shot. But none the less all nine affected the World War in their own way. I enjoyed this book because it was something different, not something you hear about every day. In my opinion it¿s good to hear other accounts of events so you can see both ends of the spectrum.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first read the title of the book, The Great Escape, I thought this was going to be another book regarding the hardships and struggles of Jewish people while Hitler was in power. However, shortly after reading the first few pages I could already notice that Kati Marton was about to prove me wrong, but in a good way. One of the reasons why I liked this book was because of Kati Marton¿s writing style. I found her writing style to be a bit confusing with all the jumping around between the nine characters and not being able to predict who she was going to write about next. For that reason, it was quite a challenge for me to try and keep up with each character and his story. This was a feat because their stories were written in fragments and would intertwine with the stories of other characters. However, I found this writing style interesting and intriguing because it did not follow the linear path of most books. Marton¿s writing style reminds me of how our minds work, jumping from one thought to the next. Therefore, I think Marton did an excellent job in writing about these nine characters in a unique manner, which is challenging, but imitates our everyday thought process. Once I got used to Marton¿s writing style, I was able to enjoy the individual stories better and really appreciate the boldness and strength of each character. I especially admire each of the characters for leaving his home country and starting new in a foreign place with nothing but experience. I also admire how they did not let these struggles hold them back in any way, but rather incorporated them into their works. Therefore, by including such inspirational and personal experiences, those who witness their works are greatly impacted. Moreover, Michael Curtiz, the film director, is the character that I find most intriguing and motivational. I admire how his passion and drive for film was so great that he would do anything to better his ability in this art. It amazes me how his fervor was so intense that he left his home and pretended to be a deaf-mute in order to learn more about the industry. Aside from his boldness, the thing that stands out to me the most about Curtiz is his approach to film making. I like how he not only incorporated his experiences into his movies, but also how he was spontaneous with the script. This spontaneity gives his movies a more real and life-like quality since he would adjust it as the cameras were rolling. Although his concept of filming might be unusual and at times stressful for everyone involved, I believe it reflects Curtiz¿s life and that of everyone else in having to adjust in the moment. One example of this technique is given by Marton with Curtiz¿s classic film, Casablanca. This film resembles Curtiz¿s life before fleeing Budapest and was reworked as it was being filmed, thus incorporating personal experience as well as spontaneity. Therefore, he appeals to me the most because he gives the impression that he lives in the moment, which inspires me to seize the day. Even though Curtiz is the person I enjoyed reading about the most, I found the other characters interesting as well along with Marton¿s unique writing style.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is about some extremely resillant jewish men who escaped the holocaust and changed life as we know it with the things they created. i would reccomend the book to anyone who enjoys history.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Throughout Marton¿s book, Michael Curtiz was the character that appealed to me the most because he pursued something that he loved, felt passionate about, and even against all odds, was able to live his dream: to make it in the film industry. He never gave up he experienced war, persecution, and the hardships of leaving everything he knew behind, all in the hopes of just being able to survive without fearing for his life because he was a Jewish Hungarian. I love the way Curtiz took his feelings and memories and poured all his emotion into two hours of film on screen. He used his experiences to influence the settings of his movies and directed one of the most memorable American classics of all time, Casablanca, which is still well known today. Curtiz overcame many obstacles in his lifetime and I still have no idea as to how he became so successful. He had to learn English, tried to communicate his innovative ideas to Hollywood producers, got funding for his films, and directed them in a signature fashion that could only be categorized as 'Curtiz'. Although I do not remember every detail about his life that I read from The Great Escape, I connected with Curtiz because I love the premise of movies and how one great film can change your life or help you escape from reality. I never knew about Michael Curtiz before I read this book, but now I am grateful for Marton's insight because I was able to get a glimpse of the life of a true artist, someone who will risk everything on the chance to become something. I really enjoyed reading Kati Marton's book and learning about nine different men and how they influenced the world I live in today. This book provided me with many pieces of history that I had missed I had never heard of any of these nine Hungarian Jews in my life, which shocked me since they all accomplished so much. At times I was confused between the characters, since most of them changed their names to lesser sounding Jewish ones, and because Marton has a tendency to jump from one man to the next without warning. I had to concentrate to make sure that I would not mix up each of the nine men's life stories because even though they all fled Hungary to escape Hitler, each of them had different paths to his eventual success. Marton does a wonderful job throughout her book, describing vividly how Hungary looked and felt during its Golden Age before war loomed and caused its prosperous growth to end. The way she intertwines the lives of nine different people through their actions within the same year is incredible, showing how one person is living on the street, while another is in a hotel her contrasting as well as her paralleling between nine lives is very impressive. She succeeds in creating a cohesive story about how nine Hungarian Jews, all of whom were not in each other's company until later on in life, fled Hitler and changed the world. From scientists to photographers, movie directors, and a writer, this group drastically influenced the world, yet somehow the world does not seem to know who these men were or what they helped to accomplish. Through Marton's book, names like Curtiz, Von Neumann, and Szilard will always be remembered and the lives of nine ordinary men with their extraordinary world impact will leave an impression of wonder as to how they all became so successful, despite their hardships, which no one should hope to experience in their lifetime.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Great Escape is a very good book about nine Hungarian Jewish men who escaped from Hungary in order to be able to improve and impact the society with their actions. Each made a huge contribution in different fields, such as science, photography, film, and writing. So, they changed the world by escaping Hitler. All experienced World War II, and later they went to other countries for example, seven of them came to America, and the other two went to England. After they escaped, each of these nine Hungarian Jews had a big impact on different fields, making huge improvements. For example, physicists Eugene Wigner, Edward Teller, Leo Szilard, and John von Neumann 'computer' made big innovations in the field of science and they were so intelligent that they were able to start the nuclear science. The hydrogen bomb, for example, was created by Edward Teller. Film directors Michael Curtis and Alexander Korda made contributions in the field of theater, as Arthur Koestler made in the field of writing. Andre Kertez and Robert Capa made unbelievable changes in the field of photography. As you can see, all of them made innovations in different fields and they had a big impact on their home countries. They changed their lives and ours at the same time. It is not easy to do what these nine men did, because at that time of Nazism was so penetrating and control was so strict that the people did not even think of the possibility of escaping. Their determination to change the world made them mentally stronger, so they were able to achieve all of their dreams and achievements. Everybody can change the world, or at least contribute to that change, as these men did. But, there are two ways of changing the world, the good way and the bad way. These nine Hungarian Jews changed the world in a good way, because their actions were all positive. Consequently, if you have a positive mind, you will achieve positive results, as they achieved. They did not only change the world in their respective fields, but also, they changed it culturally and politically. Therefore, their accomplishments were very important for the actual world, and all of these accomplishments were reached because they were able to flee from Adolf Hitler. I really enjoyed reading this book, because it puts me in their situation, which was not easy at all. Also, this book brings me a lot of motivation to never give up in any situation, and this means that you should fight until you get the results or achievements that you want.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Great Escape was an intriguing novel written by Kati Marton about several Hungarian Jews that made their way to the United States in order to avoid the monster that was the Holocaust and create a better life for themselves. The story was overflowing with content, talking about the trials and tribulations of the difficult time which made up the late 1930s and early 1940s. The novel has a bit of a slow start, basically taken up by the introduction of nine main characters the author follows throughout the story. The book also highlights these characters individual plights which later got them to the United States, which takes some time. At first, the story seems like the typical ¿Holocaust story¿, dealing with Jews who are trying to escape (hence the title) and find a new promising life, but as the reader continues, it becomes somewhat of an adventure and turns into more of a discovery story. There were times throughout the story that made me feel like I was on the run from the vicious Nazis and the eccentric and shallow dictatorship led by Adolf Hitler. Basically these characters were introduced into something new and completely unfamiliar by hiding out in a strange, yet opportunistic country. What seemed outstanding to me was how Marton chose these nine characters for her novel which began slowly and suddenly evolved into a great tale. These people did such amazing things, especially during their time. How wonderful is it that a Hungarian Jew invents the hydrogen bomb? Or becomes a famous photographer? These characters manage to excel in unexpected fields, ones which usually do not get enough recognition, but in this story, Kati Marton brings out the underdogs and rewards them. Developing a gracious story line, the author places these characters amongst the ranks of many well-known events which most Americans can easily recite. She brings them into a new and amazing environment, full of opportunity and ends up giving it to them. The title is what really caught my eye at first. The Great Escape, it sounds so full of life and adventure, something that would not happen to ordinary people. What is somewhat ironic is that completely ordinary people or ¿average joes¿ did make a great escape, one for their lives, in fact. The novel is very well-written and Kati Marton took a conventional biographical story and plain characters and turned them into something fantastic, heroes most would say. The Hungarian Jews fled their country¿the place they grew up in and loved¿and everything they knew, to get away from a horrid and practically insane war. The United States became their sanctuary and in the conclusion, after impacting so many lives in the United States with their achievements, they all had one main theme in common. As the story comes to a close, it is safe to say that every single character feels like they have lost something, their home. Through writing such an eye catching story, Kati Marton also attracted an audience including myself. I must admit that I did enjoy the novel and it had a fascinating story line.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World by Kati Marton is an excellent book that tells the story of nine extraordinary Hungarian and Jewish men that with their talents helped to transform the world. Marton relates the story from their childhood to their death, including the events throughout their life that made an impact in history and all the individuals that came in between. Among the characters we find four great scientists Edward Teller, John von Neumann, Leo Szilard, Eugene Wigner, film directors Michael Curtiz, and Alexander Korda, two amazing photographers Robert Capa, and Andre Kertesz, and finally a well recognized writer Arthur Koestler. They all had to face the decision to leave their homeland, Budapest, in order to chase and fulfill their dreams and escape anti-Semitism and hostility. Kati Marton makes sure to keep the reader entertained and in suspense about what would be next thing on each man¿s life by providing an episode of World War II, and by including the struggles and feelings of these nine different men that were all bound by the same origin. All of them were raised around the cafes of Budapest, especially the New York Café, were they let their minds run for infinitely many hours. Furthermore, the author narrates the story of many people at the same time, switching back and forwards the characters. Its magnificent flow of words makes it easy to follow and avoid getting lost it also creates an exquisite book full of stories that brings variety to the reading. In addition, this book serves as great inspiration. While in the U.S. Teller created the Hydrogen Bomb and made the country a superpower. His accomplishments serve as examples for millions of immigrants that leave their life behind and venture into the world looking for a better future his triumph show us all that no matter how hard things may seem there is always hope and that while there is a dream and a drive there is hope for greatness. In The Great Escape, I can related with three of the scientists, Teller, Szilard, and Wigner, since I have an interest in chemistry and also had to leave my country because of political and economical problems that would not help me achieve my dreams. After reading this book, I feel like there is no end to the things I can accomplish once I set my mind to them. I would absolutely recommend to read The Great Escape since it will take you through a rollercoaster of events in the lives of the nine men that changed the world as Kati Marton expressed in her title.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Great Escape, written by Kati Marton, was a surprisingly excellent book. It is a remarkable story of nine Hungarian Jews who escaped oppression from the Holocaust and created national achievements. At first glance, I thought it would be extremely boring and tedious book to read since I do not like non-fiction stories. Contrary to what I thought, it was actually quite entertaining and intriguing. I thought the introduction and beginning was a bit slow, but once you read on, it manages to catch your interest. You get to know each of the nine characters, one by one. Once you are familiar with them, you can feel what they are feeling whether it is a sense of helplessness or determination. Feeling remorse one moment and then happy the next was not uncommon throughout the story. It also gave a great insight on some beautiful and intelligent minds. Even though they had been through the Holocaust and other road blocks, they still managed to achieve tremendously and leave a mark on history. Reading about their lives made me feel guilty in the sense that they used their repression as a drive to achieve in this world, yet, youth (including me) take things for granted everyday. Very few of us take advantage of the opportunities provided to us and strive with all our hearts to accomplish our goals like the nine characters did. This book made me realize what the youth is presently coming to and how this must change. On another note, the most memorable character in the book would have to be John von Neumann. He was the most interesting one because he was the smartest of the nine. He was a true prodigy and a genius. The first thing that drew me to him was the picture provided in the middle of the book. One specific picture had a caption stating that von Neumann at the age of six was able to divide 2 eight digit numbers in his head. After reading this, throughout the story I always anticipated reading about him. It made me want to know what other unusual, yet brilliant, things he could do. Towards the end, it was heartbreaking when I found out his health was decaying, and he was slowly dying. I just couldn¿t accept the fact that such an extraordinary person could die so early. I wanted him to live so I could read more about his great future achievements, but obviously this didn¿t happen. Towards the end of his life his brain didn¿t function like it did before, but his unbelievable intelligence and his great contribution will never be forgotten. One thing about the book I didn't like was the constant name changes for all the characters. The author would use several names for one specific person. For example, Alexander Korda, the great film producer, might have been referred to as Alex, Alexander, Korda, or Sandor Kellnor, his birth name. One moment you would be reading about Korda, the name most often used, and then, out of nowhere, she would switch to addressing him as Alex. Since I was used to Korda the whole time, Alex was unfamiliar and the switch confused me. This was the same case for the other characters as well. Despite this confusion, the book for the most part was still enjoyable. It should be read by all who want to learn what it was like to live during this time of disaster, chaos, and turmoil, the time of Hitler's regime.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When first seeing the book cover of The Great Escape by Kati Marton, I thought it would be a boring history book however, I was wrong. This book was quite interesting in its own way. Unlike other books that have one or two major characters this one focus on nine who left their country before Hitler attacked their Jewish community and impacted the world in different fields such as in science, film, writing, and photograph. The four Jewish scientists, Leo Szilard, Edward Teller, Eugene Wigner, and John von Neumann brought a revolution of physics that involved the United States developing atomic bombs. Michael Curtiz and Alexander Korda created a new style of film that showed people that Hungarians could direct movies just as well as Americans. Their movies are still well known today. Arthur Koestler wrote many journals and novels that spoken his experiences about politics, one of his famous novel, Darkness at Noon, revealed ¿the first real expose of Stalinist brutality to achieve worldwide fame¿ (4). Robert Capa and Andre Kertesz showed the world through camera lens the reality of wars in society and on the war front. Out of the nine characters the most fascinating was Alexander Korda. The reason I found him interesting was because he knew how to do business, which is what I am majoring in. I loved the fact ever since he was young he had confidence and ambition to succeed in life. Even though he did not have enough money for education, he still managed to learn in Budapest¿s cafes, cabarets, opera, and the National Theater. He also went to Paris to learn about film production. I loved his trademark: ¿the big cigar¿ (27). He would always have his big cigar no matter what even if he was penniless. He believes the cigar represented importance. He knew how to display a false wealthy image to gain peoples¿ trust, which is important in business. I really enjoyed how he did his first production. He was at the New York drinking his espresso waiting for Gabor Rajnay, the National Theater¿s leading man, to ask him to be in his war picture to play the hero, the Captain of the Hussars. He told Rajnay, he had everything prepared for the shooting but in reality he had nothing however, with his appearance and confidence it leaded Rajnay to agree. Not knowing if it was coincidence or fate but somehow at the shooting there were real Hussars marching there, which Korda used for his production. Overall, I believe you would find this book refreshing not only because of the story but how Kati Marton expressed it. The way she wrote about the nine characters was very impressive it showed how much time and effort she had to go through in order to have such detail story. However, there was some boring part in the book. I guess no book is perfect even the Harry Potter series or Lord of the Ring has its ups and downs too. In general, everyone would enjoy The Great Escape because they will undercover something that was never taught in our history books.